Apex reaches out to senior citizens

03/27/2014 1:51 PM

02/15/2015 10:45 AM

More than two dozen senior citizens smiled for the camera and allowed a police officer to take their fingerprints.

They walked away with a free laminated photo identification card and a renewed sense of security.

The Apex Police Department’s senior identification program debuted during the town’s annual Senior Health and Resource Fair at the community center on Wednesday.

At least 120 seniors attended the fair, which is hosted by Apex’s parks and recreation department. Participants got a chance to learn about everything from compression socks to free transportation through Triangle Transit and assisted-living options.

The new program is an extension of the police department’s EZ Child ID program, which provides free identification cards to kids.

“As I was telling one woman who walks every day without taking her wallet, you are one fall away from a bad emergency,” said Officer J.T. Allen. “This is one card you can slip easily in your wallet, and it has all the information we need.”

Information includes a full name, address, emergency contact telephone information and any special medical conditions or medications. The cards are designed to help police and other emergency workers.

The card is better than a driver’s license because it lists a person to contact in case of emergency, Allen said.

“We’ve had walk-offs, people who have Alzheimer’s,” he said. “This gives us a way to not only know who they are but who to reach.”

If the senior fair was any indication, the ID program will likely be popular.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Allen said. “It has been booming. We’re giving them away like hotcakes.”

The Apex Police Department plans to visit some of the assisted-living facilities in town to offer ID cards to seniors. The department is willing to make other on-site visits upon request, Allen said.

Tom Bauman, 61, said he liked the idea of carrying an ID card with him.

“When I go out walking I don’t bring my billfold,” Bauman said. “This is handy to have.”

Bauman said the ID program and the fair are examples of the good programming the town provides for seniors. About 3,300 senior citizens participate in town-run activities.

“It surprised me how much is available,” Bauman said of the senior fair.

His wife, Diane Bauman, said she is looking for more volunteer opportunities. She wants to remain active.

She’s also thinking about the future.

“We’re not at the point where we need help, but we are thinking about down the road,” Diane Bauman said.

C.J. Bakke, 70, and her husband moved to Apex about six weeks ago. They attended the fair to learn more about the town.

“I was interested in learning about urgent care, looking for contact information for doctors, financial information, lawyers and CPAs,” she said. “We’re new here and we need all of that.”

Bakke, who bikes about three to four miles every day, said it was helpful to see the town’s maps of greenways and trails.

“It’s been very informative and well designed,” Bakke said of the fair.

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