After two pilot classes last season, Mike and Lynn Madden will bring back their new and improved safety awareness program to Longboat Key, starting next week.
The free program will cover everything retirees need to know in unexpected situations such as scams, frauds, falls, robberies and attacks.
“When you talk to your fellow neighbors, everybody's got a story,” said Mike. “Older adults are getting scammed in all kinds of new and innovative ways. There was really no formal program that they could go to or listen to or ask questions about that could help them alleviate this scam issue.”
The first session of the three-part series will take place at 4 p.m. Feb. 12 in Fr. Edward Pick Parish Hall at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. The topics that will be discussed include phone and email scams, home and vehicle safety, artificial intelligence and trip and fall safety.
The program was developed through the couple’s nonprofit, Center for Aging Resources and Enrichment at Le Moyne College in New York. The nonprofit organization helps retirees discover themselves through three areas of their life: spirituality, health care and education.
“It was a brainchild of my wife, Lynn,” said Mike. “She had just retired as vice president of human resources from Le Moyne College. Then, when she wanted to start something for her retiring faculty and administrative people, because we felt they really didn't have a place to go if they had issues or if they were looking for something after retirement.”
In each class, students will watch a video filmed by the Maddens and Chris Kopp, the former town of Longboat Key code enforcement officer. Then, they will lead a discussion and answer questions on the topic. Refreshments will be served afterward.
Last year, the couple held two classes for the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key and St. Mary, Star of the Sea. After feedback from the participants, the Maddens expanded it to the three-part series. If interested, register by Feb. 9. Call 383-1255.
“Safety issues have never been as important as they are to protecting adults in our community,” said Mike. “Every day, the threat from fraud, scams from your telephone to your internet and just general safety with crime seems to increase and impact our citizenry. As a result, we think it's really important to increase their awareness and how to prevent these activities.”
Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.