Guilt can be a powerful motivation for change, Challis resident Jaime Braswell recently learned.
Instead of focusing on those feelings, she’s funneling her energy into trying to make some changes that can help people avoid an experience similar to hers.
Braswell’s elderly neighbor recently died, she said, and neither she or other neighbors immediately realized it had happened. Braswell said her neighbor lived alone and “seldom left the house. So, it did not dawn on me that something could be wrong, when she had not been seen for a while, as this was common.”
Another neighbor noticed that lights were left on in the woman’s house for a few days straight and checked in. “Unfortunately it was too late,” Braswell said.
Feeling guilty and ashamed, she quickly decided to find a way to make sure this didn’t happen to someone else. Braswell, who works at the Challis Public Library, spoke with Library Director Becky Mitchell about starting a program to provide daily check-ins with people who need the service.
Challis Buddies is in its infancy, she said. It’s a simple concept, Braswell said. Elderly and disabled people or people who are at risk may call her at the library, 208-879-4267, and ask to be put on the buddy list. Or people who’d like to get a daily call can also go to the library and register in person. Braswell works from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Braswell has pledged to personally call people who want to be called once a day, every day, to simply check in and make sure they are OK.
“This isn’t asking if they need groceries or something, it’s just making sure something didn’t happen, that they’re OK and doing well,” Braswell said. If she finds a problem, she’d contact the appropriate agency.
She’s also asking for more volunteers to help call people daily in case the number of people who sign up for the service is too many for her to personally call.
To be a calling buddy, people must be willing to commit to calling their buddy every day.
“They just need to be willing to do it on a regular basis, and be responsible and caring,” Braswell said.
Braswell found a free app that checks on people who register for it on their smartphones. Challis residents might want to download Snug Safety to their cellphones, she said if they like the idea of a daily check-in, but don’t want to sign up for Challis Buddies. If people aren’t sure how to download the app, she said they can bring their phone to the library and she or another employee will download it for them.