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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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DA holds informative senior seminar

DA holds informative senior seminar

On Monday, seniors from across South Lafourche met at the Larose Civic Center for District Attorney Kristine Russell’s inaugural seminar, Senior Sources. Senior Sources’ goal is to educate the community on services offered from public offices across the parish, including the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Clerk of Court, Adult Protective Services, and others.

Booths were available with detailed information from additional vendors including Lady of the Sea, South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority, Lafourche Council on Aging, and Smart 911.

Annette Fontana, Lafourche Parish’s Clerk of Court, discussed the relevant records that are available to be accessed at the Thibodaux, Lockport, and Galliano office, but also online. Fontana also went into detail regarding the process of age exemption for jury duty and renewing passports at the Galliano and Thibodaux offices.

Sheriff Craig Webre shared information about Lafourche Parish’s Are You Ok? program, which has been in effect for over 25 years. Are You Ok? is a daily phone call, set at a designated time, from the Sheriff’s Office to an elderly person. Should the phone not be picked up, an officer will call a designated neighbor, relative, or friend, and then perform a wellness check to ensure the resident is ok.

Additionally, Webre also discussed the use of Smart911, which is a free service that shows emergency dispatchers additional information that is not seen when a 911 call is made. Traditionally, dispatchers only see the location, name, and phone number related to an emergency. With Smart911, dispatchers can see brief health histories and living conditions of the caller in the event the caller cannot communicate effectively with the dispatcher.

Popular scams and cons were shared with attendees, including the popular “grandparent scam”, in which the scammer or con artist will quickly look at social media to gather information about your family, pose as a grandchild in trouble, and then call the grandparent asking for funds to get them out of a situation. Shortly thereafter, after money is sent, a person posing as a lawyer or other representative of your grandchild, and will ask for money to be sent immediately to them in order to represent your grandchild.

Other dangerous scams and cons that were discussed included phishing emails and pop ups, as well as repeated phone calls from unknown numbers.

Wendy Thibodaux, the current Assessor for Lafourche Parish, informed attendees about the 2020 plans of evaluating the value of every home in Lafourche Parish in regards to property taxes.

Due to this upcoming evaluation, Thibodaux recommended looking into a freeze on current homesteads, and said to qualify for the freeze, residents must be over 65 years of age and have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,594.07.

While applicants need to apply at one of the three offices located in Galliano, Lockport, and Thibodaux, the Assessor’s office does provide in-person assistance to homebound residents in the community.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pinho presented on behalf of the District Attorney’s office information regarding elder abuse. According to Pinho, 1 in 10 individuals over the age of 60 are abused by their caregivers, and of that number, 1 in 14 will report the abuse.

Pinho also said that abuse is certainly not physical, and can extend to emotional, financial, and legal abuse, and that the victims may recognize it, but feel that they cannot do anything about it, as the abuser is most likely a close family member.

Pinho recommended talking first privately with the abused before reporting, and even if vehemently denied and not 100% sure, report the alleged abuse to the sheriff’s office immediately.

Michael Boudreaux, the current Registrar of Voters, discussed the Geaux Vote app and website, where residents can quickly find local propositions, who is running for elections, and locations to vote. He also had requests for mail-in ballots available for attendees to fill out at the program.

Another Senior Sources was set for August 7 at the Warren J. Harang Jr. Municipal Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. in Thibodaux.