COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – The Ohio Department of Aging yesterday announced a free, daily check-in by phone service for Ohio’s older residents to ensure their well-being amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The program was announced during Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s daily news conference. “Staying Connected” is open to Ohio residents age 60 or older who have a valid phone number.

“During a time when physical distancing has become necessary, we must create ways to maintain social connectedness,” said ODA Director Ursel McElroy. “The impact of isolation has been linked to higher risks for serious physical and mental conditions, so I am pleased we can provide these check-ins at a critical time.”

Those living alone in the community are encouraged to consider enrolling. The automated service, which is available 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, contacts participants each day within a one-hour window selected by them during sign-up.

If a participant does not answer after three attempts, a call is placed to an alternate contact, if one is on file. After multiple failed attempts to reach the participant and the alternate contact, a call is placed to the non-emergency services line of the local sheriff’s office.

Eligible Ohio residents can learn more, or sign up, by clicking here or calling 1-833-ODA-CHAT (1-833-632-2428).