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Are You OK?' system planned for seniors

By Staff
ARE YOU OK? – Genie Durden, seated, coordinator of the AARP in Lauderdale County, takes a peek at a new computer system that will soon help check on senior citizens who live alone. Looking on are, standing from left, Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie, Meridian Police Chief Benny DuBose and E911 Director John Mott. The system is coordinated by TRIAD, a cooperative program of the AARP and county and city law enforcement agencies. Photo by Chris Allen Baker / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
May 13, 2002
Senior citizens who live alone will soon have another set of eyes watching out for them besides visits from family members.
Their new caretaker will be a computer that monitors senior citizens by automatically phoning them if they enroll in the "Are You OK?" program.
The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, Meridian Police Department, Marion Police Department and the county's 911 communications center are participating in the "Are You Ok?" program.
Based at the county's E911 center on 14th Street in Meridian, the program will feature a computer that will automatically call at designated times the homes of people who sign up for the service.
When the phone rings, the person who answers will hear a recorded voice identifying the program. The person hangs up and doesn't talk; the computer will note that someone answered the phone.
If no one answers, the computer will call back. If no one answers after a designated number of attempts, the computer will call a number belonging to a person the participant designated at enrollment.
If no response is recorded, law enforcement or other emergency personnel will be sent to the residence.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said the program will start with a small database and grow from there.
Sollie said the system was purchased with the help of a state grant through the Legislature by assessing a $1 fee on traffic citations in the state.
The program in Lauderdale County received $3,000 this year and could receive $5,000 more in the state grant next year. The next year could bring $8,000, Sollie said.

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