A new program to perform daily checks on Clay County's elderly and special needs residents was launched Tuesday.
The program was inspired by an accident that happened last year when an elderly woman fell in her home and was lying on the floor for three days before a neighbor called deputies to check on her.
This new service called Clay Connection is designed to prevent anything like that from happening again. It allows for residents to have the Clay County Sheriff's Office contact them on a daily basis.
"I think it's just something that will give people a lot of peace of mind," Sheriff Rick Beseler said.
About 1,700 calls flooded the Sheriff's Office this last year from out of town family members requesting deputies to check on their loved ones because they couldn't reach them. In hopes of lessening those calls, Volunteers in Police Service will contact program participants by a daily phone call.
Since all calls will be made by volunteers, that means no taxpayer dollars will be used in this service, and less wellness calls will go out to deputies.
"They'll know if they're going on new medication, are they going to see the doctor today? Is there anything -- are they having a hip problem? You know, that type of thing," Beseler said.
If the volunteers can't get ahold of the person after three tries and calls to their emergency contacts, a deputy will then go to the resident's home.
"If a deputy is dispatched out to a home, this is what will display on their computer information about the person, including a call log and other comments to show previous conversations," Beseler said.
If the person gives advance permission, the deputy will use forced entry into their home to make sure they are OK.
"I believe there's a need in this county to help the elderly and our seniors, a lot who live alone, and we want to check on them daily," volunteer Nancy Moss said.
If you're interested in signing up for this service, click here.