The safety of many seniors in P.E.I. could be compromised if new funding is not found for a long-running community-based program.
David Blacquiere, vice-president of the P.E.I. Seniors Safety Program, sounded the alarm bell in an interview with The Guardian.
The former provincial fire marshall says previous funding for the program, which has been operating since 2002, has dried up.
He says $80,000 each year needs to be secured through various funding sources if the program may be maintained at its current level.
Blacquiere says the program is currently struggling to keep two part-time co-ordinators on the payroll.
If the program cannot be maintained, he notes, some valuable safety initiatives for seniors will cease.
He is particularly concerned with seeing the plug pulled on the Vial of Life program, which is only offered in the province through the P.E.I. Seniors Safety Program.
He estimates roughly 4,200 people participate in the program with half residing in rural Prince Edward Island.
The Vial of Life, he notes, is the most labour-intensive component of the Seniors Safety Program.
The Vial of Life is a small container which houses pertinent medical condition information, list of prescriptions, emergency contact information, pharmacist and doctor information. The vial is stored in a consistent location for all participants, clearly marked by a bright Vial of Life sticker.
A decal informs emergency responders where to find all critical information to assist them with delivering treatment.
Blacquiere recalls one P.E.I. woman crediting the Vial of Life with saving her husband.
“If we can’t continue with it, it will be a disaster,’’ he said.
“That will be a shame.’’
Blacquiere adds that the P.E.I. Seniors Safety Program provides a host of services and programs that offer direct delivery to seniors in their homes and through group presentations across the province.
“Our senior informed programs and services have evolved and developed to respond to the changing needs of seniors,’’ he said.
He adds the program is innovative and preventative with a focus on home safety including falls prevention, electrical safety, fraud and scam awareness and preventing the abuse of seniors. The program also provides referrals to appropriate professional agencies and services.
“The goal is to improve seniors well-being, enhance self-confidence and increase their ability to remain independent and safely living on their own,’’ said Blacquiere.
Those interested in providing funding to the program can contact Blacquiere at 963-2485.