United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Gatekeeper Program is enabling the community to recognize and identify seniors in need. There are an estimated 5,000 unsupported dependent seniors in Northampton and Lehigh Counties that have disabling conditions such as vision loss or walking difficulties which keep them from meeting their own basic care needs. These seniors are receiving no assistance from the government, agencies or friends and family to prepare meals, grocery shop, travel to doctor appointments, do laundry or even bathe. These seniors do not reach out for help. They are "invisible".

This year the United Way Alliance on Aging, in partnership with Catholic Charities, launched the award-winning, national best practice model, Gatekeepers. This innovative model trains employees at companies who interact with seniors during the course of a normal workday, to identify at-risk seniors and anonymously connect them to the social services and medical care they need and deserve.

 

Gatekeeper Trainer, Amy Angelo shares, "All too often in a training session, people can think of an older adult that they've been in contact with or currently know who could benefit from being connected to appropriate services." Presently, there are over 700 trained Gatekeepers in the Lehigh Valley. A Gatekeeper can be any individual who interacts with a senior during the course of a normal workday, for example, utility workers, delivery drivers, mail carriers or grocery store clerks.

Becoming a Gatekeeper Trained Organization increases the social responsibility and positioning of your business, while building and nurturing relationships within the community. If you own or are an employee of a business that serves Lehigh Valley seniors and are interested in learning more about how to become a Gatekeeper Trained Organization (GTO), please contact Amy Angelo at 610.434.1541 or by email at aangelo@allentowndiocese.org.

If you are interested in Aging issues and want to learn more and find out how you can become involved in United Way's other efforts to help seniors in the Lehigh Valley stay healthy at home, please contact Corissa Rolón at 610.807.5742 or by email at corir@unitedwayglv.org.