The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) has rolled out a free, daily check-in phone service for state residents aged 60 and older to help ensure the safety of individuals living alone. The “Staying Connected” program was announced on May 14 during a press briefing by Governor Mike DeWine in an effort to keep older Ohioans easily connected with help.

In order to qualify for the program, residents must be age 60 or older and have a valid mobile or landline telephone number. An automated call will go out between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. During sign up, participants select a one-hour window to receive their daily call. If a participant does not answer after three attempts, a call is then placed to an alternate contact. If there are multiple failed attempts to reach both contacts, a call is sent to a non-emergency service line for an in-person wellness visit.

An additional benefit to the program is that after confirming the participant is OK, they are given the option to learn about additional aging resources in the area. Buckeye Hills Regional Council is the local agency fielding any incoming calls from participants utilizing the service in Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington counties.

“We will be a referral point for those indicating that they are in need of or interested in additional resources or services through the Staying Connected initiative. This is a service that we provide to all residents of the eight-county region we serve throughout the year,” said Jennifer Westfall, BHRC Aging and Disability Director. “We are happy to be able to partner with the Ohio Department of Aging in serving one of our most valuable populations living within our region.”

Buckeye Hills Regional Council employs three Information and Assistance Specialists who answer an average of 300 calls a month and connect individuals to the resources they need. If you or a loved one would like to be enrolled in the Staying Connected program, call 1-833-ODA-CHAT (1-833-632-2428) or register online.

Buckeye Hills Regional Council is a council of governments dedicated to improving the lives of residents in southeast Ohio and is one of 12 Area Agencies on Aging in Ohio, responding to the needs of older adults as advocates, planners, and funders. In southeast Ohio, BHRC provides education, information, and referral services while also working with the public and private sectors to help older adults with home and community-based long-term care.

To learn more about Buckeye Hills Regional Council, and for assistance, and referral services, visit  www.buckeyehills.org, call 740-374-9436 or 1-800-331-2644 (toll free), or email  info@buckeyehills.org.

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