ICE campaign boosts safety for seniors

SALEM – Icy cold weather can be a danger for senior citizens.

According to the Salem Visiting Angels, as the cold weather blankets our area, a growing number of seniors may find themselves stuck in life-threatening situations.

They might slip, fall, get lost, have car failure, become confused, stranded or quite literally, be left out in the cold.

As one of the nation’s largest in-home senior care agencies with two area locations, Salem Visiting Angels has launched ICE (In Case of Emergency), a cell phone safety campaign to help seniors in case of emergency.

M. Susan Frenger, owner of Salem Visiting Angels, said she or Connie Frenger will be happy to make arrangements with senior citizens to program their phones.

A cell phone is “iced” by loading emergency contacts into it with the word “ICE” in front of the emergency contact names, so when someone finds a senior in distress they know who to call in case of emergency.

Salem Visiting Angels, which celebrates its 10th year in business in Salem this year, will ICE a senior’s cell phone for free.

It can be done either at the Salem Visiting Angels office at 409 E. Second St., or at the client’s home.

Or they’ll teach families how to ICE a senior’s phone.

Frenger said, “We can program the names into the phone and make sure they understand how it works.”

The names used can be family members, nearby neighbors, or emergency responders like the fire department.

“Whoever they want to put in there,” Frenger said, “we can discuss that with them.”

Frenger explained most of the Salem Visiting Angels’ clientele have lived in their own homes for quite a while and know the neighbors.

The hope is that ICE will become a universal emergency plan a quick way for emergency responders to pick up a senior’s cell phone, and press the letter ‘I’ to find seniors’ emergency contacts quickly.

ICE partners should know the seniors’ medical conditions, doctors’ names and medications they’re taking.

An ICE sticker can save a life and a Salem Visiting Angels’ ICE-loaded sticker can be placed on the cell phones, so if someone finds a senior in trouble they know who to call in an emergency.

How to ICE a seniors’ cell phones:

Under ‘I’ in the cell phone contact list, load the “In Case of Emergency” contact names, beginning with the word ICE (ie: ICE-Heather).

Make sure the emergency contact(s) agree to be an ICE partner.

Include every phone number (home/cell/work) of the ICE partner.