Caring Currents

When You Can't Check in With Your Parents, Cops (Often) Can

Last updated: Mar 24, 2008


At first glance, your local cop doesn't seem like a first choice for providing eldercare.  But it turns out police around the country do just this as a regular part of their job. Keeping an eye on seniors, especially those living alone, is a routine service of many police departments. Some call. Some visit. Others ask seniors to call and when they don't, go to their home to see what's up.


I just did a web search and was amazed by the choice.  There are programs in Marshall County, Iowa; Baker County, Florida; and the town of Morton Grove, Illinois. The list goes on.  Some are run by police departments alone, or cops teamed up with social service agencies. Most are free to residents.


They're easy to find. Do an internet search using terms like "police" or "sheriff" and “senior check-in” or “senior check,” always with the name of your parent’s town or county. If you come up empty for your parent's town, try dropping the "police" or "sheriff" from the search. Private companies also do senior checks for a charge. Some are national, serving local areas by phone.


Another thing: I know how easy it is to feel guilty by using a service to do something we’d really like to do ourselves. Maybe one way to look at it is as back-up, like carrying a spare tire in the car, a safety net to cover us when we can’t be perfect! Exclamation mark is intended, no one is perfect.


Maybe some of you know senior check-in services that you think are great, or ones to avoid? Any recommendations to share?


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