The Taunton-based Community Crisis Intervention Team, which over the past decade has worked with police in Bristol County to avoid incarcerating people with mental health problems, has been expanding its focus in recent years.

Three years ago, a program for troubled youths was introduced, along with one for veterans.

The most recent piece, devoted to the needs of seniors, was discussed during a recent meeting of the MMA Human Services Council. Anne Bisson, Taunton’s human service director, described the program as very helpful. She noted that in one instance, a senior had a urinary tract infection that mimicked the symptoms of psychosis.

“If we have an elder in crisis in a situation we can’t address, we bring it up [at the next meeting of the Community Crisis Intervention Team] and we devise ways to deal with it,” Bisson said.

One police officer works solely on helping seniors protect themselves from scams. Kathy Lalor, director of the Community Crisis Intervention Team, said it was illuminating to discover the scope of efforts being made these days to defraud seniors.

Elders with cognitive problems are particularly vulnerable, Lalor pointed out.

In one instance, in another Bristol County community, someone contacted a senior claiming to be an Internal Revenue Service agent and said that money was owed. The senior, according to Lalor, reported the scam to police.

“But there are other elders who wouldn’t think of doing that,” Lalor said.

Written by