Hawkeye Valley agency on aging expands "Carrier Alert" program - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hawkeye Valley agency on aging expands "Carrier Alert" program

WATERLOO (NEWS RELEASE) - Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging is expanding a valuable service offered to area residents.  The Carrier Alert program is a cooperative program designed to help monitor the well-being of elderly or disabled people within the community. Established in 1982 as a joint effort between the National Association of Letter Carriers and the United States Postal Service in cooperation with local service organizations, Carrier Alert has been credited with saving the lives of thousands of people across the country.

"For many of these elderly or disabled residents, the mail carrier is their only point of human contact they have on a daily basis," stated Jeanne Burns, Information and Assistant Specialist for Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging. "With the growing number of older people who are maintaining their independence in their own homes, this program offers a measure of much-needed support and security."

The program follows a simple model - when a resident registers with Carrier Alert, a visual reminder is placed inside or near their mail receptacle. Delivering mail to the same residents day after day, letter carriers become attuned to signs that could indicate an accident has occurred or illness. Signals of distress could include accumulating mail, lights on during the day, pet dogs crying, drawn drapes, or no tracks in the snow.  When a carrier notes something unusual, he or she reports it to a postal supervisor who in turn contacts Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging. 

"During the registration process, Hawkeye Valley collects emergency contacts information in the event there are concerns," said Burns. "Once we receive a call from the postal supervisor, we first try to call the individual. If we get no response, we immediately get in touch with the emergency contacts to have them investigate if there is a problem."

Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging has partnered with several post offices within its ten county service area.  The communities offering Carrier Alert include Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Evansdale, La Porte City, Raymond, Gilbertville, Sumner, Waverly, Independence, Dumont, Reinbeck, Grundy Center, Eldora, Marshalltown, and Traer.  For more information about this program or to register, call the Senior Help Line at 319-272-1767 or toll free at 1-877-538-0508.

HVAAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation serving elders in Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy, Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama counties. HVAAA coordinates services for people ages 60 and older and their caregivers to maintain the independence they desire. Some of the services provided by HVAAA include home delivered meals, caregiver support and respite services, case management services, congregate meals, public information and education, Senior Helpline, and advocacy.

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