Citizens Bank sponsors crime prevention program




FLINT TWP. — When legendary Michigan rocker Bob Seger holds his next concert, he may have a fan in the audience who actually awoke to the sound of his thunder.

Management at Willowbrook Manor on Beecher Road have tentatively decided to spend a recent donation to send an elderly resident to a Seger concert because his music was playing when she suddenly snapped out of a period of unresponsiveness in which she had not spoken for at least six years.

“All of sudden, she popped up like nothing had happened. Bob Seger was playing,’’ said Ryan Michelson, Willowbrook administrator, who adding that she now constantly listens to Seger’s music.

The money to pay for Seger tickets, transportation and an accompanying nurse comes from a $250 donation from Citizens Bank provided as part of its sponsorship of Senior Crimestoppers, a national program designed to provide safe and secure living environments at nursing homes.

A Wish Comes True component provided Willowbrook with $250 to spend on residents in any way it chooses. Citizens will present another $250 each year for the length of its seven-year sponsorship, a total of $1750.

Willowbrook is one of five facilities in Michigan chosen by Citizens Bank for sponsorship, said Brian J. Smith, vice president and public relations manager of Citizens corporate marketing & communications, who was among officials attending a press conference last week to launch Willowbrook’s charter membership in the Senior Crimestoppers program provided by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation.

“More and more seniors are being targeted for crimes and this program educates resident on how to protect themselves,” Smith said.

The program also includes a Time of Your Life video series to entertain residents with a nostalgic trip through events from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

A Crimestoppers tip line is set up to report a crime for which the Crimestoppers Foundation offers rewards of up to $1,000 for useful information.

Michelson said it is great that Citizens chose to sponsor them.

“It is like an insurance policy you hope you never have to use but are glad you have it if you do,’’ he said.

Willowbrook staff have been trained and a social worker put in charge of the program.

Lock boxes to secure small valuables have been installed in eight rooms and residents given the keys. More are expected later, Michelson said.

Residents also have been informed about the program and how to report problems.

Senior Crimestoppers operates in over 4,000 facilities across the country and is credited with reducing crime in them by 92%.

“Willowbrook Manor was chosen from Citizens Banks healthcare partners for this honor because of the strong commitment to seniors and their care,” said Greg Viener, Community President for Citizens Bank in Flint.

Implementing this program does not mean that the facility currently has a crime problem, but that the administrator is proactively finding a way to keep problems from occurring in the future, said Terry Rooker, president of Senior Crimestoppers. More information about the program can be found online at www.seniorcrimestoppers.org.


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