Human-connect is the panacea that keeps society cohesive. In troubled times like these, the essence of such connection becomes all the more defined. Playing this idealistic role is Sundargarh Police of Odisha by calling up the elderly citizens to enquire about their health, arranging free meals or medicines at their doorstep and ensuring everything so that they do not need to step out of their houses.
The Sundargarh Police has launched the Senior Citizen Connect program in which citizens of that age group residing in three most vulnerable areas of Sundargarh district have been identified. The police have collected their details like addresses, blood group and alternate emergency contact number. They have also started a public helpline number- 06622272218 and a WhatsApp number 9438916954, exclusively for senior citizens.
“Senior citizens can call us on the Public Grievance WhatsApp number if they face any problem and their issues will be resolved on WhatsApp video call itself. The aim is to ensure that they do not have to step out of their houses in order to meet us,” said Sagarika Nath IPS, SP Sundargarh.
The Sundargarh Police have also coordinated with different social organizations in these three areas so that if any senior citizen is in home isolation the police will deliver free food at their doorstep. “This also ensures that they do not step out for basic necessities and they do not have to cook when they are unwell,” SP Sagarika Nath explains the move further.
“The police personnel are also providing medicines for the senior citizens. In any case someone needs to go to the hospital they may call us as well,” assured the SP.
Staying in home isolation for several weeks may be traumatic and disturbing especially for senior citizens. To ensure mental wellbeing, the Sundargarh Police will also be providing psychological counselling. “Mental health is of concern these days since many people are getting affected and our society is going through an emotionally challenging phase,” said SP Sagarika Nath.
All these services can be availed by the senior citizens by just contacting the Sundargarh Police through the single helpline contact number which is operational all the time.
The Sundargarh Police is also calling up every senior citizen in a cyclical pattern from the call center to ask about their health. As of now five calls are being made every day in this fashion.
“We felt that many people are not talking about their symptoms and thinking them to be regular fever, cough and cold. When their health worsens they start to panic. So we devised this strategy in order to keep track of their health,” Sagarika Nath IPS explained.
Keeping the elderly safe
In the initial few days Sundargarh police personnel paid visits to the residence of these senior citizens to distribute their Senior Citizen ID cards physically. “This would prevent them from coming to our offices to collect the ID cards. Besides, by doing this we could also reach out to them, connect with them, enquire about their well-being and identify if they are facing any problem,” shared Sagarika Nath IPS.
The Sundargarh Police will also be ensuring door-step FIR registration through this process. “This would also ensure that the entire process can be done online and senior citizens do not need to move out of their houses and we can keep them safe,” the SP added.
Community policing methods like the Senior Citizen Connect program have been an effective step to strengthen the citizen-police relationship and help us come together to fight the pandemic. Kudos to SP Sagarika Nath and the Sundargarh Police team for coming up with such a humane initiative during these tough times.