It's a familiar scenario: An older person or couple lives alone in a home they've owned for decades. They sometimes struggle with health issues. Their illness or inability to function independently could easily go unnoticed or unattended. That's where our participation in the Gatekeeper program can help.
The Gatekeeper Program is a statewide effort by the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) to help identify senior citizens who need help but may not be able to get it for themselves.
DTE Energy has joined forces with the Michigan OSA to help seniors in our service area.
DTE Energy employees and contract workers who observe a senior citizen (age 60 or older) who may need assistance, are asked to submit a referral to the DTE Energy Gatekeeper program. All referrals are confidential.
Once the referral is made, the DTE Energy Gatekeeper Program team sends the referral to the appropriate local Area Agency on Aging. A representative from the local Area Agency on Aging contacts the senior, makes a field visit if necessary and involves the appropriate human services and health agencies to arrange for assistance.
Each month, the Michigan OSA selects a Gatekeeper of the Month from participating organizations. At DTE Energy, in addition to the good feeling our employees receive from helping others, the DTE Energy Gatekeeper Program formally recognizes our Gatekeeper of the Month for assisting our seniors.
"We're all Gatekeepers - even if we don't have face-to-face customer contact," says Joyce Hayes Giles, DTE Energy's senior vice president of Customer Service. "We may talk with customers over the phone or be in contact in other ways. We all have family members, friends and neighbors who might be at risk. This program is one more way DTE Energy is working to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve."