COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTAP) - The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) has launched a free, phone check-in program for seniors in the state to ensure their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. The free service, called Staying Connected, allows Ohio residents aged 60 or older to register to receive a call from a representative at the ODA every day during an hour of their choosing. To register, seniors must have a landline or mobile phone.
Those registered can provide the phone number of an alternate contact, as well, in case they do not answer. If both the registered senior and the alternate contact fail to answer the call, the Department of Aging will work with local, non-emergency officials, primarily Sheriff’s offices, to ensure the senior’s safety.
“During a time when physical distancing has become necessary, we must create ways to maintain social connectedness,” said ODA Director Ursel McElroy in a press release. “The impact of isolation has been linked to higher risks for serious physical and mental conditions, so I am pleased we can provide these check-ins at a critical time.”
Since the program launched last week, the response has been favorable, said Beth Gianforcaro, communications and government outreach official at the ODA.
“We’ve had people aged 60 to 101 who have registered for the program. They’ve been very interested in it. Some people have said, ‘I don’t have family or friends close by, so this is a good way for me to be able to be checked on every day,” Gianforcaro said.
The service is available from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. seven days a week. Those interested in registering can do so by calling 1-833-ODA-CHAT, or 1-833-632-2428 or by visiting the ODA’s website. Find that link under Related Links on the right side of this screen.