Cape Coral police hold first-ever Safe Senior Workshop
Nearly 100 people attended the Safe Senior Workshop Wednesday.
Hosted by the Cape Coral police, the free event covered a multitude of issues facing seniors today, from elder exploitation and identity theft, to crime prevention and safe driving. Attendees learned how to reduce their chance of becoming a victim of a crime and got to share their concerns.
“It’s been very interactive,” said Officer Jerry Moll, workshop organizer and a district resource coordinator with the Cape police.
“A lot of people made this work, so I’m very pleased with how this turned out,” he added.
A representative from the Lee Memorial Health System discussed fall prevention, while the Department of Children and Families focused on elder abuse and what the agency can do to help. Assisted living and independent living facilities within the area had booths set up to provide information.
“These facilities, they do 24-hours-a-day work with the elderly, so we had the professionals here,” Moll said.
A city staffer was also on hand to discuss the opportunities available at places like the Tony Rotino Senior Center and Lake Kennedy Senior Center.
One local senior who attended the workshop was Blanca Castro.
“I wanted to see what happened here, to find some information that would help me,” she said.
Castro picked up some tips during the safe driving segment.
“This is wonderful for seniors,” she said. “You always learn something.”
Also in attendance was Marge Coennen, a respite sitter with the Senior Friendship Center. She and a couple others were taking the workshop for training. She also found the section on safe driving to be educational.
“It was very informational, very interesting and well worth coming to,” Coennen said. “I think all seniors should attend.”
To her, the segment on scams and schemes was also an important topic. Last year, Coennen paid $600 for a service that she later found out she could have done herself. When she received a similar telephone call recently, Coennen knew better and hung up.
“That’s something that’s very prevalent right now,” she said.
Other attendees reported having received telephone calls in the past from someone claiming to be their grandchild in need of help, specifically money.
“That scam has been experienced by participants here,” Moll said.
He stressed that it is OK to simply hang up to avoid becoming a victim.
Joan Guarino, director of community relations with Juniper Village, said the workshop provided seniors with helpful information, tips and contacts.
“So many issues come up in their lives, and they don’t know how to handle it,” she said, adding that seniors sometimes do not even know if they have been victimized. “This was just a great community event.”
Moll noted that the issues covered at the workshop were only a handful of topics from a “laundry list” that he and others came up with. He cited what to do if a confrontation with a criminal becomes physical and what specific information to give 911 during an emergency as topics still on that list.
The workshop was held from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at police headquarters, at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd. Afterward, participants were given the chance to tour the building to get a better understanding of how the agency works.