With the recent frigid temperatures dropping into single digits, the welfare of senior citizens in Farragut and throughout the county rested on the shoulders of volunteers.
SCAN, a cooperative effort between volunteers and Knox County Sheriff’s Office, has been checking on senior citizens since 1997. Of the 200 to 225 recipients countywide who receive visits, 14 live in Farragut.
“It’s been really a big help,” said Helen Trent, a Farragut recipient of SCAN services. “You feel more secure.
You know you can contact [the volunteers]. They come in and do things police officers don’t have [time] to do.”
Trent said she started receiving visits about 10 years ago, when she still was living along Maryville Pike in South Knoxville. Then she moved to Farragut a little more than four years ago to live closer to her sister — and the visits continued.
“It makes me feel good knowing they are coming,” Trent said.
“Basically, we just visit with them, find out how they’re doing or if they need anything,” said Marianne McGill, sector leader for the two west sectors of SCAN and a Farragut resident.
“You get to know them,” said volunteer Linda Armstrong of Hardin Valley. “You ask about family.”
“And, usually, when they have a funeral, we try to make a presence there,” McGill said. “We just had a lady who was almost 103 who just passed away. The only problem is you get so acquainted with them, you feel like they are family, and when they pass away … it’s hard.”
“If they have any problems, issues, we try to get them some assistance, make referrals to Office on Aging,” Armstrong said.
“Sometimes we have to call Adult Protective Services, which isn’t fun, but that’s rare, really,” Bond said.
“Most of the time it’s just a matter of putting a battery in a clock or changing the time,” Armstrong said.
“… Or opening a bottle,” McGill added.
“It’s just simple things, but it’s our presence in their neighborhoods that make them feel really safe,” Armstrong said.
If the weather is too bad even for volunteers to visit recipients, Armstrong said they have recipients’ phone numbers “so they will at least call and check on them. They contact them some way or another.”
SCAN is made up of a little more than 100 volunteers who perform such functions for senior citizens and the disabled as providing home security surveys and crime prevention information, conducting vacation home checks, confirming personal well-being, engaging in public relations and providing resource agency referrals.
They undergo training before they take on SCAN duties.
For more information about SCAN, call 865-215-5627.