In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is particularly dangerous for the elderly population, Maryland has begun a free senior call check program that it says is the first of its kind in the country.
Maryland’s Department of Aging recommends the state’s 65-and-older residents sign up for the program as a resource to stay updated on information about the pandemic.
Under the program, any senior citizen in the state can opt in for a daily phone call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during a one-hour time block of his or her choice. If three calls go unanswered, a designated person such as a loved one, caretaker or neighbor will be notified and “will then be encouraged to check on” the participant.
Daily calls will deliver messages to seniors regarding COVID-19 and offer additional resources at their disposal.
The program comes as Maryland and other states struggle to stop the coronavirus from breaking out in nursing homes and assisted living centers for seniors. Last week, the state announced at least 90 such facilities had COVID-19 outbreaks. On Saturday, the Charles County Department of Health said it had identified 101 positive cases in the nursing homes and assisted living facilities in its county alone.