Teaneck—Close to 100 of Teaneck’s seniors came out last week to attend a safety seminar sponsored by councilmen Elie Y. Katz and Yitz Stern, and Five Star Premier Residences, the luxury retirement community on Pomander Walk. The multi-purpose room at Five Star, located at 655 Pomander Walk in Teaneck, was packed with seniors residing throughout the town of Teaneck and residents of the retirement community. The seminar, “Senior Safety: What Seniors Need To Know,” is one of many programs the councilmen run throughout the year to “continue to infuse information to the public,” said Councilman Katz.
The lecture, which was attended by Senator Loretta Weinberg and Councilwoman Lizette P. Parker, featured four keynote speakers, Chief Robert Wilson of the Teaneck Police Department, along with Officers Michael Sunga and Daniel Dalessio, Captain Jordan Zaretsky of the Teaneck Fire Department, Chief Brian Higgins, Director of Public Safety of the Bergen County Office of Consumer Protection, and Director Lorraine Joewono of the Bergen County Division of Senior Services. Each speaker highlighted resources the township and county has to offer, many of which attendees were not aware existed. Teaneck resident, Andrea Alexander, who received a flyer in her home mailbox advertising the event, found the lecture very informative; she noted “awareness of the laws and programs are helpful to all of us.”
Councilman Katz began by applauding the Teaneck Fire Department’s “Good Morning Checkup Program,” saying, he has not heard “of any town that does it as well as Teaneck.” Seniors register and receive a call from the fire department each morning to check on their well being.
“It is not whether or not [an emergency will occur] it’s when it will occur,” says Chief Robert Wilson, of the Teaneck Police Department. He urged residents to be prepared for emergency situations. Officers Michael Sunga and Daniel Dalessio recommended that residents have emergency supplies on hand and a “go-bag” ready in advance. Pamphlets listing recommended items to include in an emergency kit were distributed, for a copy of that list visit www.ready.gov.
The officers noted that the next general emergency preparedness meeting will be held on August 8, and one can visit www.teanecknj.gov for more information. Teaneck’s emergency information hotline, 201-837-4800, will give up-to-date information about emergency situations in our area. Residents can also sign up for alerts via phone or text messages on the township’s website www. teanecknj.gov.
Captain Jordan Zaretsky, of the Teaneck Fire Department, added that a key part of emergency preparedness is knowing how to shut the main breakers for the electricity and gas. Captain Zaretsky directed homeowners to www.pseg.com for diagrams on how to shut the breakers. He also reminded citizens to steer clear of downed power wires.
The officers emphasized that residents should report suspicious activity, and should take note of the location, racial identity, clothing and license plate numbers. They offered the community policing phone number, 201-837-8759 and the main desk number 201-837-2600 for non-emergency situations.
One of the most common fraud schemes targeting the elderly is home improvement repairs. Chief Brian Higgins, Director of Public Safety for the Bergen County Office of Consumer Protection, offered information to help avoid being defrauded. He explained that contractors must provide a home improvement registration number, which proves the contractors are registered with the Attorney General’s office, are bonded and insured. The number begins with #13VH and must be listed on all of the contractor’s printed material. Chief Higgins provided the number to the division of consumer affairs, 201-336-6400, to verify registration numbers and to report fraud.
Servicing the 192,000 seniors living in Bergen County is the Division of Senior Services. The division offers guidance on State Health Insurance Programs, caregiver education and support programs, referrals for care management and housing, education and counseling on health and wellness, nutrition programs, transportation and senior activities. The division also offers two programs called “Chore Service” and the “Cheer Program” in which seniors are assisted in their homes with simple repairs or with weekly errands.
Lorraine Joewono, Director of Senior Services in Bergen County distributed an extensive information packet detailing all of the programs and resources Bergen County offers its seniors. For more information and assistance call Bergen County Division of Senior Services at 201-336-7400 or visit www.co.bergen.nj.us.
The “Senior Safety:What Seniors Need to Know” seminar provided a wealth of information pertaining to seniors and Teaneck residents. It was well received by long time Teaneck residents, Ruth and Walter Ramsfelder, who were glad they attended. The seminar is in line with other public awareness programs that Councilmen Katz and Stern sponsor, which includes “Synagogue Safety,” “Mosque Safety,” and “Internet Safety.”
When asked what prompted the senior program, Councilman Stern said “we are just trying to make the town a better place.”
By Paula Michele Silver