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March 27, 2009

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 961-6682


Heather McNeil of Community Affairs takes a photo of Sarah Blakeney for the Sheriff’s Department Senior ID Program.

On March 27, staff of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department visited the monthly meeting of the Senior Companion Program (SCP) at Boston City Hall. Heather McNeil of the Community Affairs Department and John D’Amore, Director of Vocational Programs introduced the Department’s Senior Identification program to the members organized through the Boston Elderly Commission.

The Sheriff’s Department Elderly ID program provides Suffolk County Seniors with colored identification cards. The cards include a photo of the cardholder, his or her name, address, blood type, and medical history, and the name and phone number of the cardholder’s physician and an emergency contact. The information is vital in an emergency situation and the ID card is an important aid to medical responders.

In addition to collecting the completed applications for processing the identification cards, D’Amore handed out booklets on senior safety tips about how Boston seniors can protect themselves. D’Amore said, “Sheriff Cabral is committed to making Suffolk County a safer place for its seniors and the Sheriff’s Department Senior ID program is a great way for us to support that commitment.”

The Boston Senior Companions recently held its 20th anniversary and according to the City’s website, the program is part of Senior Corps, a network of national service programs that provides older Americans with the opportunity to apply their life experiences to meeting community needs. Senior Companions serve one–on–one with the frail elderly and other homebound persons who have difficulty completing everyday tasks. They assist with grocery shopping, bill paying, and transportation to medical appointments. They also alert doctors and family members to potential problems. Around fifty–one members attend monthly meetings at city hall while receiving a small stipend through the City of Boston to take important information and program literature back out into the neighborhoods in which they live.

Many members of the SCP are affiliated with local agencies such as the Central Boston Elder Services, ETHOS, Kit Clark Senior Center, Boston Senior Home Care, just to name a few. Eileen O’Connor, Senior Companion Administrative Assistant said, “We have such a diverse group of seniors that attend from different organizations throughout the City of Boston.” She continued, “ Having the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Senior ID program come to city hall and meet with these clients is a great thing for them to take back into their neighborhoods and the various agencies they are affiliated with.”

“I’ve been doing this for nineteen years,” said Sarah Blakeney, SCP member and volunteer with the Central Boston Elder Services. “I visit clients throughout Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, and West Roxbury to make phone calls, go shopping, fix lunches, and take out the trash.”

On the Senior ID program Blakeney said, “I think that having a Senior ID card will help out a lot. If you keep this on you at all times, it can be very useful should the information be needed in an emergency situation.”

For additional information about the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Elderly ID program visit our website at or call (617) 961–6655.

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