Madera County Sheriff John Anderson announced a new program Wednesday and asked for residents to sign up. It’s called “Elder Orphans” and it’s a service that will call seniors everyday.
A Madera County resident, 74-year-old Jerry Ongman, came up with the idea after several of his neighbors passed away alone. One of them was a friend.
“I was never sure if he had died and hit the ground or if he had an attack and had laid there three days dying. I thought we've got to do something about this,” said Ongman.
Anderson is asking residents to sign up for the free service. He hopes it cuts down on the number of people who die alone every year without anyone knowing.
“We find out about it sometimes three days afterwards, three weeks, or even three months,” said Anderson.
Now, a simple automated phone call will shorten the time the deceased are alone or get them help before it's too late. If people don't answer repeated calls, a sheriff's volunteer will go check on them.
“This, I think, gives us an opportunity to be of service to the older population,” said Suzetta Pelowski, a citizen on patrol for the Madera County Sheriff’s Department.
It's a service that gives Ongman and many others some peace of mind.
“Help other people and make their families at ease because now they have somebody looking after them a little bit,” said Ongman.
To sign up for the service, call 675-7976. For more information, click on the “related link.”