When someone needs an emergency service, sometimes a phone is unreachable. In an instance such as this, a Lifeline unit could become a life saver. That’s why this important little device, worn as a bracelet or a necklace, was thrown its own party.

When someone needs an emergency service, sometimes a phone is unreachable. In an instance such as this, a Lifeline unit could become a life saver.

That’s why this important little device, worn as a bracelet or a necklace, was thrown its own party.

On Oct. 18, Noyes Memorial Hospital and Livingston County Office for the Aging celebrated a 30-year partnership of helping older adults remain independent with a Philips Lifeline Emergency Alert Response System (EARS).

About 25 people attended the party, made up of Lifeline subscribers and those associated with the program, past and present.

“Thirty years is quite a milestone to reach,”Patty Piper, director of community outreach services said from the podium inside the hospital’s conference room.

“And we want to say thank you today to all who have contributed to our success over these thirty years. It’s all about partnerships.”

The celebration included remarks from Noyes president and CEO Amy Pollard, as well as from Livingston County Office for the Aging director Kaaren Smith and former director Gloria Harrington.

Harrington was instrumental in bringing the Lifeline units to Noyes in 1982. When the county office received state funds of $15,000 to help find ways to allow aging adults to remain in their own homes, she came across the Lifeline units while at a national conference in Nashville, Tenn. She thought that the units would be a better use of the funds than by trying to use the funds to provide home health aides, which the state was encouraging.

The $15,000 wouldn’t go far if used to provide home health aides, Harrington said. But it wasn’t easy convincing that to the state, however. But Harrington’s persistence paid off. The state eventually agreed to allow the county the go ahead with the Lifeline units if there were some home health aids provided to the Lifeline subscribers.

Noyes got on board to provide those aids, and campaigning began for local financial support through community organizations to buy more units as demand grew.

“It just thrills me to see that the program is still going thirty years later,” Harrington said. “Because there’s a lot of programs in human services that don’t last thirty years. So this is a real milestone and something for all of you to be proud of.”

Livingston County Sheriff Sgt. Mike Bradley, who is in charge of the county’s 911 dispatch center that fields the Lifeline calls; as well as Philips Healthcare Regional Sales Executive Mark Howard also spoke.

Howard oversees the sales of Lifeline units in 28 states. He travelled from Tennesee to be at the program, and handed out a plaque to Noyes Lifeline coordinator Tara Coffey regarding the anniversary.

“It’s amazing the collaboration [between Noyes and Livingston County] that’s gone on here in the past thirty years,” Howard said. “It makes a very unique partnership. And it’s absolutely critical to the success you’ve had.”

At the end of the program, Coffey and Piper handed out certificates to two of its longest subscribers – Marie Woods and Ruth Perry. Out of the 30 years, Wood has been a subscriber for 26 years; and Ruth Perry for 15 years.

Other certificates went to the Sheriff’s Department, Office for the Aging and Lifeline program volunteers.

Subscribing centenarians where recognized with certificates, though none were able to make the celebration.

Noyes currently has 755 subscribers with more than 7,650 who have been served in more than 8,000 emergencies since 1982.

The Lifeline program serves those within a 45-mile radius of Noyes in five area counties. About 70 percent of current subscribers live alone, with five of whom are at least 100 years of age.

Nationally, Philips Lifeline has the only FDA approved medical alert service on the market and has helped more than six million people over the past 36 years in existence.

Due to continued support from the community, including a recent $12,000 donation from Noyes Auxiliary, subscribers do not have to be on a waiting list. Installation can occur as soon as 48 hours from initial referral.

To find out more information about the local Lifeline program for you or a loved one, contact Noyes EARS Lifeline at 335-4359, log onto noyes-health.org or email lifeline@noyes-hospital.org.