The entire community can help protect the elderly during the cold snap by forming neighbourhood watch schemes to “keep an eye” on the most vulnerable sections of the constituency, North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA , Mr Robin Swann, has urged.
Assembly member Robin Swann, former Health Minister, issued his statement as very severe weather hit many parts of the constituency. In his statement, Mr Swann called on the community to become the ‘eyes and ears’ of the elderly in the constituency.
Mr Swann said:
“Many of the elderly people in our constituency have given a life-time of service to their community and country. Surely in any democratic nation, we can afford this vulnerable section of our community the right to be safe, secure and warm in their own homes?
“The harsh reality, too, is that the modern police service has a fierce workload and petty criminals seem to be able to target pensioners at random. The police cannot be everywhere in the constituency, so we as responsible citizens have our duty to play, too, in the protection of the elderly.
“With these dark and cold winter nights upon us, many in the elderly population are already having to face the challenges of staying warm or avoiding a severe dose of the flu. Now there are the added dangers of muggings and robberies. I appeal to the community to become the eyes and ears of the elderly.
“When people whom the elderly know keep regular checks on our pensioner community, then perhaps they will feel safer in their homes. As a society, we are living longer and therefore the number of elderly residents in the constituency is increasing. Pensioner power should not be limited to the ballot box."
“They continue to have a very valuable role to fulfil in our constituency by passing on their experiences and expertise in life to younger generations through residents, tenants and community associations, for example. But it is also imperative that these senior citizens have their human rights protected by being able to live out their twilight years in peace and safety,” said the UUP man.