Alcoutim tackles loneliness among the elderly

Alcoutim tackles loneliness among the elderly

A new initiative to ensure elderly residents have access to a hotline providing quick assistance should the need arise has been developed by Alcoutim Council alongside the Red Cross’s Humanitarian Centre in Tavira (CHT).

The way it works is simple: senior citizens are given a special telephone as well as a wristband or a necklace equipped with a button that, when pressed, immediately alerts the Red Cross Contact Centre, which then decides the best course of action to take.

The system, called ‘+ Próximo’ (loosely translated as “closer”), aims to serve elderly residents who are in need of urgent assistance or are simply feeling lonely.

In a press statement, the local council describes it as a “pioneering project in the Eastern Algarve which mostly aims to tackle loneliness”.

Around 80 elderly residents have been identified by the local council and will be receiving the special telephone and wristband/necklace.

They will also be visited three times per week by a member of the CHT who will check on them and ensure their wellbeing.

Alcoutim Mayor Osvaldo Gonçalves says the council is committed to “being closer to the elderly population, be it through sports, culture, senior university and also helping those who face the most problems relating to isolation”.