(November 2, 2014) MARION — The Marion Council on Aging and the Rochester Post Office have begun a program that will serve as a well-being check on elderly residents of the town.
Soon the mailboxes of senior citizens who request it will be marked to allow postal carriers to determine that the resident is elderly and may need help. The notice will say that if there is three days of accumulated mail in the box, the letter carrier should call the Marion Council on Aging.
Council on Aging director Susan Schwager said the council will know if the resident is away visiting family or in a hospital. If neither is the case, then the council will take appropriate measures to ensure the senior is safe, such as contacting the police or fire departments for a formal well-being check.
Schwager said she first heard about such a program while at a Massachusetts Council on Aging conference last October, when a Council on Aging worker from Barnstable talked about that town’s success with a mailbox marking system. She took the idea to the Rochester postmaster, who oversees Marion’s post office, and the two agreed to implement it in Marion.
“It’s a quick and easy way to have another set of eyes watching the elderly,” Schwager said. “Mail carriers stop by those houses nearly every day.”
The program will focus mainly on seniors who are living alone and might be isolated for one reason or another, she said.
Schwager estimated that one-fourth of Marion’s population is senior citizens. She said the program’s minimal cost will come from the COA’s regular budget.
Outreach workers soon will be contacting seniors to ask if they’d like to have their mailboxes marked. Seniors interested in registering for the program may contact Schwager at 508-748-3570.