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New daily check-in line set up for senior citizens

COLUMBUS — Ohio has set up a new free, daily check-in by phone service for older residents to ensure their well-being amid the ongoing coronavirus public health emergency and beyond.


The program was announced during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily news conference on Tuesday.


The “Staying Connected” service, from the Ohio Department of Aging, is open to Ohio residents age 60 or older who have a valid phone number.


The automated service, which is available 7 a.m.–6 p.m. seven days a week, contacts participants each day within a one-hour window selected by them during sign-up. After confirming the caller is OK, it offers to connect the caller with the local Area Agency on Aging for information about services or assistance.


If a participant does not answer after three attempts, a call is placed to an alternate contact, if one is on file. After multiple failed attempts to reach the participant and the alternate contact, a call is placed to the non-emergency services line of the local sheriff’s office.


The Ohio Department of Aging is encouraging seniors who live alone to consider enrolling.


“During a time when physical distancing has become necessary, we must create ways to maintain social connectedness,” said ODA director Ursel McElroy. “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.”


Robert Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association said the program will help reduce isolation and support the health and wellbeing of older Ohioans.


“Especially during this very challenging time, we encourage older Ohioans to sign up for the Ohio Department of Aging’s Staying Connected phone program,” he said.


Eligible Ohio residents can learn more, or sign up, by visiting www.aging.ohio.gov/stayingconnected or calling 1-833-ODA-CHAT (1-833-632-2428).


For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.


The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.