The entire community can help the elderly during the current heat wave by forming neighbourhood watch schemes to “keep and eye” on the most vulnerable sections of the constituency, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Assembly member Mr Robin Swann has urged.
Mr Swann is also North Antrim UUP Chief Whip and Chairman of the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning.
In his statement, the UUP MLA called on the community to become the ‘eyes and ears’ of the elderly in the constituency during this current spate of exceptionally hot weather.
He said: “Many of the elderly people in our constituency have given a life-time of service to their community and country. Surely in any democratic nation, we can afford this vulnerable section of our community the right to be safe in their own homes? This not only applies to protection from criminals, but also protection against the exceptionally hot weather.
“The harsh reality is that the modern police service has a fierce workload and petty criminals seem to be able to target pensioners at random. The police cannot be everywhere in the constituency, so we as responsible citizens have out duty to play, too, in the protection of the elderly.
“Even with these very hot days, many in the elderly population are already having to face the challenges of staying cool or avoiding a severe dose of heat-related illnesses. Now there are the added dangers of muggings and robberies. I appeal to the community to become the eyes and ears of the elderly.
“When people whom the elderly know keep regular checks on our pensioner community, then perhaps they will feel safer in their homes. As a society, we are living longer and therefore the number of elderly residents in the constituency is increasing. Pensioner power should not be limited to the ballot box.
“They continue to have a very valuable role to fulfil in our constituency by passing on their experiences and expertise in life to younger generations through residents, tenants and community associations, for example.
“But it is also imperative that these senior citizens have their human rights protected by being able to live out their twilight years in peace and safety,” said Mr Swann.