Cleveland Care Calls offers peace of mind to seniors and their families
by Niki Nohejl

(Plain Press, April 2005) “It’s a beautiful service. I look forward to getting my call every day.” “Best call I get all day.” These are comments of some seniors who use Cleveland Care Calls, which was first offered in May 2004.

The Director of the Cleveland Department of Aging, Jane Fumich said, “The Cleveland Care Call program is part of the department’s strategy for a strong, safe, smart program for our Cleveland seniors.”

To receive this free service a senior has to complete an application and designate an emergency contact person to check on them if needed. The emergency contact person (often a family member, but could also be a friend, is to sign an agreement as part of the application packet. The Public Safety department will go to the senior’s house if the emergency contact person cannot be reached. “To date, we have not had any significant problems on this regard,” Fumich said.

This program is an automated telephone support system that is monitored using a computer program, making sure the senior receives a call on the days and times they request between 7a.m. and 11a.m. The system makes several attempts to call the senior in a 30-minute period until the senior responds. After the 30 minutes are up and there still has been no answer, the system will contact the designated emergency contact person.If the emergency contact person cannot reach the senior, Public Safety will check on the senior at home.

According to Fumich, Cleveland Care Calls was inspired by an accident a senior had a few years ago.  She said concerned loved ones who could not reach a senior with whom they were in regular contact asked the police to check on the senior. The senior was found on the floor where she had fallen and could not get up. “Thankfully she has recovered,” Fumich said.

Cleveland Care Calls is a helpful program for seniors, according to Ruah Paller, a senior citizen who lives in Parma Heights. “I think it’s a good program, there are people who don’t have friends and family like I do, and there might come a time when I need it.”

For more information on Cleveland Care Calls, or to request an application call the City of Cleveland Department of Aging at 664-2833.


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