Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – Residents of Fulton Mill Apartments in Fulton recently gathered with representatives from the American Red Cross of Central New York and Catholic Charities of Oswego County to celebrate the second anniversary of the I’m OK program.
An initiative of the American Red Cross, the I’m OK program is a neighbor-to-neighbor program that benefits residents by ensuring that in the event of something happening to them they will receive attention in a timely manner.
Fulton Mill Apartments was the first senior housing facility in Oswego County to implement the I’m OK Program when it was launched on February 1, 2011.
“We are proud to be able to celebrate the second anniversary of the I’m OK Program,” said Ann Casey, resident services coordinator. “It is a wonderful program that both our residents and our staff are pleased with. It’s nice to know that our residents understand the value of the I’m OK Program and it’s comforting to know that our resident monitors are checking on residents 7 days a week.”
Casey added that the I’m OK Program has been a great success and served the residents well.
“Over the past two years the program has ensured that our residents are checked on routinely by our resident monitors, and by doing so, it has played a role in avoiding potential mishaps,” said Casey.
Susan Pope, emergency services manager with American Red Cross of Central New York, is impressed with the success of the I’m OK Program and the way in which the staff and residents of Fulton Mill Apartments embraced the program.
“As this was a new program for us, we didn’t really know what to expect when we launched it. We hoped that we would be able to engage a few residents at one site and then build on that, however what we have experienced at Fulton Mill over the past two years has been phenomenal. Approximately sixty-percent of the residents are participating and almost 20 residents are serving as volunteer monitors,” said Pope.
“The monitors are the life blood of the I’m Ok Program,” added Casey. “Each volunteer receives extensive training, courtesy of the Red Cross, regarding their responsibilities. Each morning at 10, our volunteer monitors check their respective floors to make sure that residents participating in the I’m OK Program have put out their I’m OK door hanger. If it is out, they remove the door hanger and slide it back under the apartment door. If it is not out, they can refer to the card we have provided for them that outlines the proper actions to take.”
Pope added that a large part of the success of the I’m OK Program at Fulton Mill Apartments is the willingness of the Fulton Mill administration to fully support the program and the infectious enthusiasm of the volunteer monitors.
“Ann Casey and site manager Marcia Prignon understand the importance of the I’m OK Program and appreciate the benefits it provides for their residents and their staff. They have included information about the program in their intake materials and Jezanna and Marge do their best to encourage the monitors to explain the program to each new resident. Their efforts have made it easy for the I’m OK Program to be successful,” said Pope.
The presence of the I’m OK Program at Fulton Mill Apartments was made possible through a collaborative effort between Fidelis Health Care, who provided funding for the program, Catholic Charities of Oswego County, who helped bring the I’m OK Program to the Fulton Mill Apartments and served as the conduit between Fidelis Health Care and the Red Cross, and the management of the Fulton Mill Apartments.
“Helen’s passion for this program and her efforts to bring Fidelis Health Care to the table were instrumental in getting the I’m OK Program established,” said Pope.
As the I’m OK Program celebrates its second anniversary, Director of the Oswego Branch of American Cross of Central New York, Danielle Hayden envisions a strong future for the program in Oswego County.
“In addition to Fulton Mill Apartments the I’m OK Program is also in place at St. Luke Apartments in Oswego and we are reaching out to other senior housing residences in Oswego County. The success of the I’m OK Program at Fulton Mill Apartments is a great example of how staff and residents are able to work together to add a simple yet effective program that provides a non-intrusive level of reassurance that helps our seniors live independently,” said Hayden.