Amherst starts seniors safety program

Ray Bristol

Amherst News/Citizen-Record

Some people see seniors as a nuisance, a pain in the you-know-what, and wish they would just go away, but not Ray Bristol.

Ray Bristol, a former operations manager at several industries in Amherst and, also, a former, seven-year RCMP auxiliary officer, is the new coordinator for the Seniors Safety Program in Cumberland County.

“I’m loving it. It’s a great program. I’m meeting lots of great people,” said Bristol. “It’s fun and completely different than being an operations manager.”Bristol, a former operations manager at several industries in Amherst and, also, a former, seven-year RCMP auxiliary officer, is the new coordinator for the Seniors Safety Program in Cumberland County.He says too many people see retirees as people who are a burden to society.

“A lot are living in homes bought and paid for and have disposable income they put back in the economy,” said Bristol. “A lot have a lifetime experience behind them and can volunteer and bring life lessons. They have a lot to contribute yet.”

Senior’s Safety Program

There are two sides to his job as a senior safety coordinator, which he started in August.

“One side is getting the word out and letting people know that the Senior Safety Program is there and what we’re able to do,” said Bristol.

The program addresses safety issues that will help seniors live independently for a longer time, including topics such as home safety, elder abuse, crime prevention, health issues, and how to enhance communication between seniors and law enforcement.

He also gives presentations to large groups throughout the county.

“I’ve been going to as many senior’s related events as possible and presenting a brief overview of what the program is about,” said Bristol. “The whole county, Amherst to Advocate, is included in my region.”

The second side of his job is working with people one-on-one.

“It’s surprising how many people need that one-on-one help.”

Whether it’s finding transportation to hospitals in Moncton or helping a senior find a home where they don’t have to deal with stairs, Bristol helps navigate the bureaucratic trail seniors need to walk down.

“People with means and abilities have trouble finding suitable housing in Amherst,” said Bristol “If you take someone who doesn’t have the means it can be extremely difficult.”

Bristol keeps close contact with police, the health authority, continuing care and many other agencies to help provide help for seniors.

“I love the opportunity to work with people and help them out,” said Bristol.

The Police and Senior’s Safety Academy

The Seniors Safety Program, along with the Amherst Police Department and Furlong-Jones Funeral Services, is providing a free, six-week program called the Police and Senior Safety Program, which runs from Oct. 12 to Nov. 16.

“It’s for six Wednesdays and we cover two topics each Wednesday,” said Bristol.

Workshops begin at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Oct. 12 – The two workshops on the first Wednesday are Senior’s are Cool, and Taoist Tai Chi.

Seniors are cool dispels stereotypes about seniors.

“It highlights the good things about being a senior, dispelling some of the myths about how they don’t contribute enough,” said Bristol.

Other topics are as follows:

Oct. 19 – Presentations from the Amherst Police Department and the Alzheimer Society

Oct. 26 – Medication and falls, and fall prevention

Nov. 2 – YMCA Full of Life Program, and Purple Shield: Protecting Your Funeral Plans

Nov. 9 – Simply For Life Nutrition, and CIBC: Safe Banking Practices

Nov. 16 – Cancer Awareness and Prevention, and the Cobequid Housing Authority

Workshops are at Furlong-Jones Funeral Services on 70 Church Street, and run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., with lunch provided by Furlong-Jones.

To register, or for more information, contact Ray Bristol at 902-667-7484