Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
OSWEGO, NY – Living alone can sometimes be worrisome. There is always the concern that if something happens, how will anyone know, who will be there to help? For the residents of St. Luke Apartments in Oswego, they can rest easier knowing that the Red Cross’ I’m OK program is addressing those concerns.
St. Luke Apartments is the first senior housing complex in Oswego to institute the I’m OK program and only the second in Oswego County. Made possible through a collaboration between the Oswego Branch of the American Red Cross of Central New York, Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Emergency Services, Fidelis Health Care, and the administration at St. Luke Apartments the I’m OK program has been well received by the residents.
“Our residents are a very tight knit community. The residents have a tendency to look out for each other, and the I’m OK program is just another step that will enhance those feelings,” said St. Luke Apartments Property Manager, Melanne Keim. “Resident safety and health is our main concern. The I’m OK program provides our residents with additional safety and independence.”
An initiative of the American Red Cross, the I’m OK program is a neighbor-to-neighbor program that benefits residents who live alone by assuring residents that in the event of something happening to them they will receive attention in a timely manner. Resident volunteers, who have received extensive training from the Red Cross, check their respective floors each day at 10 a.m. to make sure that residents participating in the I’m OK program have put out their I’m OK door hanger.
If it is, they simply remove the door hanger and slide it back under the apartment door. If is not, they can refer to their volunteer information card that clearly outlines their responsibilities and the proper actions to take.
Branch director Oswego County American Red Cross of Central New York Danielle Hayden was happy to welcome St. Luke Apartments as the latest participant in a program that offers such a vital service.
“The I’m OK program is a wonderful resource for seniors. There have been several instances where seniors have experience problems in the middle of the night and have been unable to contact anyone. The I’m OK program will assure our seniors that there will be someone to assist them in a timely manner should they need it and provides their families with the peace of mind that someone is making a non-intrusive check on their loved ones everyday. I’m pleased to see the efforts that the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities of Oswego County and Fidelis Health Care have put into bringing the I’m OK program to St. Luke Apartments and I would eventually like to see the I’m OK program extend to all the senior housing facilities in Oswego County,” said Hayden.
Chapter services associate for the American Red Cross of Central New York Susan Pope added that the I’m OK Program is a perfect fit with mission of The Red Cross.
“Our mission is to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. That covers everything from simple first aid to national and international catastrophes. The I’m OK Program reflects that as its monitors are prepared to look out for the sign that there might be an emergency, in this case the missing door hanger. They have specific instructions regarding the proper steps to take in the event of an emergency so they the resident will be found within 24 hours, meaning that person will have a far greater chance of recovering than if the I’m OK monitors weren’t checking every day,” she said.
Terrance Gorman, CEO / administrator for St. Luke Health Services and a member of the board of directors for St. Luke Apartments, who was on hand for the kickoff of the I’m OK Program, was impressed by the simplicity of the program and the tremendous benefit that it offers participants.
“On behalf of the board of directors for St Luke Apartments we are thrilled that the residents have implemented the I’m OK program. The concept is simple and it works. We are also thankful for the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities and Fidelis Health Care who have helped make it a reality,” said Gorman.
“We are delighted to see the I’m OK program at St. Luke Apartments and we thank the staff and residents for making it happen,” added Pope. “Our thanks also go to Catholic Charities of Oswego County and Fidelis Health Care for their support and to our volunteer coordinator Jezanna Osier for inspiring our resident volunteers.”
For more information on the I’m OK program contact Helen Hoefer at Catholic Charities of Oswego County, 315-598-3980 or Pope at 315-343-0967.