Be Mindful of Senior Neighbors

After almost a week without power, Mary Lambert couldn't take it any longer.

"It was chilly, I could see a draft come into my house," said Lambert.

The 52-year-old threw out her food, stocked her cat with water and cat food, and sought the help she needed.

"I was trying, and I said God please help me and please help the other people and their animals and don't let it happen to me again," said Mary Lambert, who has no power.

Friday she checked into the Volunteers of America--that's a first for her.

"I've never been on the streets before, I've never been in the cold like this," said Lambert. "I've never had weather like this before, and I'm scared."

The city is concerned other seniors may not be as wise.

"My prayer is that we don't lose lives over this period of time," said Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson, the Lansing Director of Human Relations and Community Services.

Dr. Johnson said some seniors have been reluctant to leave their homes for fear of theft.

"We encourage families, we encourage friends, we encourage neighbors to make sure that they are looking out for their seniors," said Johnson.

She said if you cannot get a hold of them, call a non-emergency number and request a welfare check.

"Safety is our first concern, and that's regardless of age," said Johnson. "I'm 65 and thought I just couldn't handle it after four days and that was with layers and layers of clothes."

Johnson said she's glad her power was out for several days, so she understands what people are experiencing.

Dr. Johnson said in addition to the winter outages, about 1,500 families have been without power for weeks because of a change to Michigan's Energy Assistance Program--which helps people pay their utility bills.

She plans to crusade for those families to get their lights back on as well. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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