'Yellow dot' enrollment kick-starts Griswold Triad program

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Sep. 16, 2013
Griswold Senior Center Director TIna Falck (left) hands Feliska Cholewa her Triad information packet, as Joyce Gootkin of the Area Agency on Aging (second from left) and First Selectman Phil Anthony look on. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Griswold Senior Center Director TIna Falck (left) hands Feliska Cholewa her Triad information packet, as Joyce Gootkin of the Area Agency on Aging (second from left) and First Selectman Phil Anthony look on. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

The Griswold Senior Center was the closest it’s ever been to Grand Central Station Sept. 12, as nearly 100 senior citizens enrolled in the new “Yellow Dot” program sponsored by the Griswold Triad. “We had a much better turnout than we expected,” said Senior Center Director Tina Falck. “There were a few glitches, but we got through it. We had 52 sign up beforehand, but I know we had extra people who came in.” A number of non-Griswold residents who frequent the Senior Center also came in to enroll, she said.

The Yellow Dot refers to a brightly-colored sticker affixed to the rear windshield of a senior citizen’s car. It indicates to first responders that the car’s glove box contains essential information about the driver. “If they see that [sticker], they know you’ve got [the information] in your glove compartment,” said Edith Wojtkiewicz of Griswold. “It saves a lot of time. My daughter says, ‘This is perfect for you older citizens.’ Well, someday she’ll be there too.”

Included in the packet are the person’s emergency contacts, a list of medications they’re taking, their doctor’s name, even their nickname. It also includes information about whether the person is a caregiver responsible for picking up a child after school, or whether they have pet at home that needs care. Senior center staffer Judi Merrill took photographs of each person who enrolled, to be included in the packet.

The idea is that if a senior driver is involved in an accident, breaks down on the road, or has a medical emergency, first responders will be alerted and have access to crucial information about that person, even if they can’t communicate.

“It doesn’t cost anything, and it could save your life,” said senior Mary Rose Deveau of Jewett City.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Feliska Cholewa of Jewett City. “You never know when something is going to happen. This will give the groundwork you need.”

Wojtkiewicz noted that many seniors’ medications change over time. “I guess that’s why they want you to fill [the form] out in pencil,” she said. In fact, a pencil was even included in the packet for future updates.

Triad refers to a partnership that encompasses law enforcement, businesses and seniors themselves to help protect and improve the lives of senior citizens. Resident State Trooper Jason McCarthy and First Selectman Philip Anthony, along with members of Griswold Ambulance, attended the enrollment and helped affix the stickers to seniors’ cars. Materials for the Yellow Dot program were funded by People’s United Bank. Representatives from the bank also assisted in the enrollment, as did Joyce Gootkin, Area Agency on Aging senior resource person and Triad committee member.

Falck said that the Yellow Dot sign-up was the first of many proposed Triad programs, including information sessions on such topics as scams that target seniors and elder abuse. “Probably every quarter we will try to offer some type of program,” she said.
Local seniors can still enroll in the Yellow Dot Program; contact the Griswold Senior Center at 860-376-2604.


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