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What is The Gatekeeper Program?

The Lehigh Valley Gatekeepers Program is a collective community approach between United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, United Way Alliance on Aging and Catholic Charities.  Its purpose is to connect at-risk older adults to appropriate services, in order to keep them living safely and independently. We make these connections by training area businesses and organizations to recognize possible “seniors in need” and educate employees on how to make a report to the Gatekeeper Program. 

In a recent study conducted by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, 4,950 Lehigh Valley seniors report being dependent and without assistance from any family, friends, social services or paid services. The Gatekeepers program wants to make sure all area seniors are connected to the resources they need to stay independent and safe. 

Just in the past 3 years, the Gatekeeper Program has trained over 120 local businesses and organizations to:

  • recognize warning signs and red flags that indicate a senior may need some help or support
  • understand the protocol for obtaining information for reporting
  • report their concerns to the Gatekeeper Program

Please contact Catholic Charities at 610-435-1541 for more information and to schedule a training for your organization.  To see a list of Gatekeeper Trained Organizations (GTO) click HERE 

Our Commitment to Businesses

The Gatekeeper Program begins with a commitment to respect your company’s preferences and processes for reporting a concern.  Many of your employees may already have recognized concerns with seniors, but did not report the concerns; possibly due to a lack of knowledge about how to make a referral or concerns about liability and company policy regarding sharing customer information.  We work with your organization to overcome barriers to reporting and allow your employees to become comfortable with making a report when necessary.  Additionally, all reports to the Gatekeeper Program are kept confidential. 

The Gatekeeper Program will offer as much training to your organization as is needed to accommodate departments and schedules.  The length and details of the training sessions also are customizable.  Once initial trainings are complete, you can schedule a refresher Gatekeeper training periodically or include it in your company’s orientation for new staff. 

Why be Involved?

Becoming a Gatekeeper Trained Organization (GTO) increases the social responsibility profile of your business while building and nurturing relationships within your community.  Research finds that the higher an employee views their organization’s corporate citizenship, the more committed they are to the organization and their work.  It also affects team member morale, spirit, and pride; trust in their employer, and willingness to recommend their employer as a good place to work.  You can help to retain your customers while helping them retain their dignity, health and independence.  Therefore, your business can help contribute to the viability of the community in which it is a part. 


There is no adverse consequence to your business or your employees in becoming at GTO.  We take great care to understand your company’s policies on reporting customer information and to integrate your policies into our training.  Every call is confidential, and the Older Adult will not be able to link the referral from your business or specific employee.

What happens after a report is made?

When making a report, your ONLY responsibility is to let us know that there may be a problem.  A Geriatric Social Worker at Catholic Charities will then contact the senior in need within 3 business days and offer assistance. Because of your anonymous call, help is on its way.