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For frail elderly people–especially those living alone–the risk of a fall and other life- or health-threatening injuries is a dangerous reality.

Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers who run the Lifeline Program at Simi Valley Hospital & Health Care Services, seniors and their families have a level of assurance that their need for assistance during an emergency will not go unheard.

The system works like this: During an emergency, the senior pushes a button attached to a chain around his or her neck, which activates a home communicator on the telephone. In the hospital Emergency Department, the signal activates an alarm, and the person’s name and other necessary information appears on a computer screen.

At that point, an ER nurse attempts to call the client. If there is no answer, the nurse calls a “responder,” a friend or family member of the client who lives nearby and has been pre-selected to assist in emergencies. Paramedics are called, if necessary, and the client’s needs are taken care of quickly and thoroughly.

The Lifeline Program is a shining example of cooperation among government, business and individuals. The senior centers in both Simi Valley and Moorpark support the program and provide grants to low-income individuals who need the service. Simi Valley Hospital raises money for the program, purchased the central monitoring unit for the ER and provides office space for the volunteers.

If you’d like to become a Lifeline volunteer, contact Dottie Curameng, director of volunteer services at Simi Valley Hospital, at (805)955-6952.

If you are interested in the Lifeline program for yourself or a loved one, call the senior center in either Simi Valley or Moorpark for more information and an application.

Posted 4-16-01