Seniors who live alone may be at risk of falling or becoming ill and being unable to reach a telephone, so no one will know they need help. To protect seniors from these circumstances, the New York City Department for the Aging makes available a program called Carrier Alert.
When a senior voluntarily enrolls in the Carrier Alert program and submits emergency contact information, a sticker is placed inside their mailbox. A letter carrier who notices mail accumulating in the senior’s mailbox may alert a 311 operator, who will notify the Department for the Aging. The department may then call the senior’s emergency contacts, building superintendent or police, so someone can check in on the senior and make sure they are safe and well.
To be eligible, seniors must live in New York City and have their mail delivered by letter carriers to a mailbox or mail bank at their house or apartment building. An enrollment form is available on the website of the NYC Department for the Aging here. Seniors who participate in the program and will be away from home, for example on vacation or in the hospital, should notify the letter carrier in writing and cover the sticker in their mailbox. The department notes that the program is intended to enhance the health and safety of seniors and people with disabilities, and a senior’s voluntary enrollment does not create legal duties on the part of the providers.
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