“Are you OK?” provides safety and security for elderly people living alone. Each morning, 365 days a year, an officer from the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office places a phone call to check on the well-being of people who have signed up for the program.
If they fail to answer or indicate they need emergency aid, the officer summons help immediately.Sheriff Bellotti introduced the free-of-charge program into Norfolk County in 2001. Since then, officers have registered over 70 saves by calling for help for seniors who suffered
falls or a variety of other medical problems. Fallon Ambulance Service became a partner
with Sheriff Bellotti in administering the program in 2009.
People interested in learning more about “Are You OK?” or signing up for the program should call the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office toll-free at 1-866-900-7865 (RUOK).
It is difficult to measure the tremendous benefits of the ‘Are You OK?’ program because how can you place a value on safety and peace of mind for our senior citizens? As the old TV commercial used to say: ‘Priceless.’ The program allows elderly people living alone to feel the security of a public safety professional checking on their well-being daily.
“The beauty of ‘Are You OK?’ is its simplicity, plus the fact that it’s absolutely free. When a person becomes enrolled with us, they provide our office with a specific time that they would like to receive their call each morning. They also give us names of people to contact in case of an emergency and several other pieces of pertinent information. And that’s it!
“From then on, at the appointed time, the person receives a phone call asking, ‘Are You OK?’ If no one answers the phone, we contact a trusted neighbor, a family member or the police to make sure everything is all right. Sometimes a person has suffered a fall and can’t reach the phone or they are immobilized for some other reason.
“Not all problems are so obvious. At times, a client will answer the phone and say he or she doesn’t feel so well that day. Our highly-trained officers become familiar with the people they contact every day, and sometimes can sense a problem even if the person at the other end of the line doesn’t verbalize it.
“If the client is scheduled to be away for a day or week or month, they simply let us know, and we adjust accordingly, then resume the calls when they return.
“By the way, the peace of mind I spoke of earlier isn’t limited to the people receiving the calls each morning. Loved ones often wrestle with the dilemma of wanting their elderly parents or relatives to maintain their independence while simultaneously worrying about their health and welfare. ‘Are You OK?’ is like a good neighbor looking in on them each morning just to make sure everything is fine.”
What Clients and Loved Ones Are Saying About "Are You OK?"
“It’s been very helpful to me. You know that somebody is there everyday, seven days a week, to call you and make sure you’re all right. And that security means a lot. That’s important.” – Mary, 80, of Braintree
“The program saved my (83-year-old) cousin’s life. She fell and she couldn’t move. She lay on the floor all day and night and then ‘Are You OK?’ called at 7 o’clock like they do every day and she was unable to answer the phone. The police went to her house and found her on the floor. She wouldn’t be alive if she didn’t get that ‘Are You OK?’ call.” – Sandi, 82 of Brookline
“I find it comforting because if for any reason I need some help, I know where to go. I try not to bother them, but I know they’re there if I need them.”
“I just want to reiterate my sincerest thanks toFallon Ambulance Servicefor stepping up to the plate in 2009 and becoming a partner with me in the administration of ‘Are You OK?’ Fallon provides the physical headquarters for the program and contributes their expert staff to help make the daily phone calls. Fallon’s invaluable participation in ‘Are You OK?’ is another testament to their dedication to all the residents of Norfolk County.”