Alan Hayman, left, and Terry Hovey talk about the Northwood intouch program. The men are members of the International Order of Odd Fellows, which administers the program in the local area. Raissa Tetanish photo

In the past year, Terry Hovey and Alan Hayman know of at least two people whose lives were saved thanks to the Northwood Intouch program.

Both men are members of the local International Order of Odd Fellows, which now administers the program in the local area.

“There was one woman who was outside, who went to the mailbox,” said Hovey. “It was a windy, windy day and when she went to the mailbox, she fell down and rolled into the ditch. She had the fall detector, which rings for a family member first.”

The Intouch program looks similar to an answering machine and can either tie into a landline, or through a modem directly to Northwood, based out of Halifax. There are two types of buttons with the program – one the client wears around his or her neck, and the other being a fall button, which detects when someone falls.

“Through the program, it rings for a family member first and if it can’t contact anybody on the client’s list, it then goes to 911,” said Hovey. “It did save that woman’s life.”

For the past year, the Odd Fellows has been offering the Northwood program in the local area. The man who had been administering it through Willow Lodge had wanted to retire and approached the service group.

“It’s part of our service – the benevolence,” said Hayman, the chairman of the benevolent committee. “There are thousands of clients in the province, and a lot in this area. It’s a good system for anybody.”

Clients are able to have as many contacts listed as they’d like, as long as they live within a 10-minute drive of the client. If none are listed, the calls go directly to 911.

Since taking over the local area, about six new clients have subscribed to the service. Most clients are elderly.

“They probably all live by themselves, or are by themselves throughout the day until a family member comes home from work,” Hayman said.

“It’s a nice feeling, to be able to go out and help people,” said Hovey.

Through the service club, members conduct a lot of benevolence in the community. They’ve built wheelchair ramps for people, and installed wider doors where needed. They’ve picked up drug store bills for people who are ill, and have provided gas cards for people travelling to Halifax for medical treatment.

“We usually hear of people in need through word-of-mouth. We work with the local palliative care nurse, and she often points us in the direction of people in need,” said Hayman. “We’re trying to get those people who are falling through the cracks.”

Each Easter, the Odd Fellows will host a food run – they purchase the goods for Easter dinner and deliver it to people who need it.

When it comes to the Intouch program, the Odd Fellows are able to get new clients set up with the system, and then are able to help out when need be, such as for changing batteries.

The program has an initial installation fee, plus monthly fee for the monitoring system. It comes with a button to wear around the neck, however the fall detector is an extra cost, and extra buttons for in the home are available as well. For more information on the Intouch program, contact Tisha White at 1-800-461-3346.

For more information on the Odd Fellows, including how to become a member, call Alan Hayman at 902-657-3477, Terry Hovey at 902-305-6238, Jordan Swan at 902-953-1027, Jimmie LeFresne at 902-957-2169, or talk to any other member.