Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard urged senior citizens at a recent Crime Expo to report crimes immediately to his office, including when they think they have been the victim of scam artists.
“We’re here to help you,” Ard told more than 300 seniors who attended the 18th annual expo at Abundant Life Church on March 8. “If we don’t know you’ve been a victim of a crime, we can’t help you.”
Ard said seniors in Livingston Parish are sometimes the victims of scams.
“They are targets,” Ard said of seniors. “Then they get embarrassed and don’t want to report it.”
The 2014 Seniors and Lawmen Together, or SALT, Crime Expo featured demonstrations from several vendors, including hospice agencies and representatives from the Council on Aging.
Speakers talked about crimes against senior citizens, health insurance and provided other information crucial for seniors.
Pearl Crowell, 70, of Central, listened attentively to the safety tips.
Crowell, who is attending school to become a medical biller and coder, said she was interested in learning more about Medicare — what it covers and what it doesn’t.
“This gives you an opportunity to meet people (vendors) one-on-one,” Crowell said.
As free meals were being served to senior citizens, ages 60 and over, Shane Bates, of the Department of Insurance made his way around the room, introducing himself to seniors and providing them with information about Medicare and Social Security benefits. Bates said the Senior Health Insurance Information Program offers free healthcare counseling for seniors.
Toni Johnson, a service representative with the utility company Demco, talked to seniors about the Demco Foundation, a program that collects excess money from customers who agree to round their bill to the next $1. Johnson said the extra money is used to help residents with shelter or medical needs.
She also provided energy saving tips that could help senior citizens lower their utility bills.
Nettie Rudison, of Denham Springs, who turns 60 in August, said she came for the fellowship but learned more about what health care plans are available.
“Instead of sitting at home without anything to do, I came here and learned some things,” Rudison said.
In addition to health insurance providers, the expo provided blood pressure checks for seniors, information on the Foster Grandparent Program and more. Seniors also received a free lunch provided by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.