TRURO – When you ask Doug MacDonald about his new position, he can’t hold back his excitement.
MacDonald recently started with the Truro Police Service as a senior safety coordinator, a three-year position funded through a grant through the province’s Department of Seniors.
“This position has been established in other parts of the province, but Truro was one of about five or six places without one,” said MacDonald, who retired two years ago after spending 37 years working with the government, the last 19 in adult protection services. “I want to get the program up and running, and I also believe that with good documentation and keeping good statistics, it will justify this being a fulltime position.”
MacDonald knew there was grant money available for a position of this nature, and said he approached the mayor of Truro and Colchester County, as well as Truro Police Chief David MacNeil.
“He was enthusiastic about it and said it’s exactly what they need,” he said, of the chief. “Officers spend a lot of time addressing issues for the senior population.”
Though he’s only been in the position since the beginning of November, MacDonald is already getting his feet wet and meeting with care coordinators and senior day clinics in the area. He’s also already received a number of calls from seniors in Truro. The program, he said, can be anything the service wants it to be, and he’ll be able to put his skills as a registered social worker to good use.
“I’m hoping to enhance the inclusion, safety, and well-being of seniors, and make them feel safe, healthy, and independent in their homes,” said MacDonald.
Through the program, MacDonald is planning on hosting information sessions on a variety of topics – for example home security, telephone scams, bank fraud, identity theft, elder abuse, and even those covering power of attorney, wills, and estates. He’ll provide information as to what services are available locally and provincially, such as medical services, or even social ones.
“It’s about making them aware of the services that exist. There are many recreational and social organizations that are available, and day programs, such as (with VON).”
In addition, MacDonald is able to do home visits, especially when referred by his police colleagues.
“Because I am a registered social worker, that skill set will come in handy for the position. Officers sometimes don’t know what to look for and they may not be able to assess someone’s mental capacity. But with my skill set, I’m able to do those assessments,” said MacDonald.
Chief MacNeil said MacDonald is excited about the position, and he hopes service groups and people in Truro will contact them for assistance.
“One of our goals here is to better engage with the senior population and this position will go a long way in achieving that goal,” said MacNeil. “We hope this position will be hugely important to the community and justify a fulltime status for it. I’m hopeful we can expand this program. Doug is energetic and has a wealth of knowledge. We hope he can take this role to the next level.”