Originally published by: Britt Salay, WANE 15
OSSIAN, Ind. (WANE) — As the Stay At Home order continues, a Wells County town is making it easier for the elderly residents to ask their neighbors for help without having to step outside of their home.
Older adults are among those most at risk when it comes to COVID-19. That can make it tricky for them to safely get errands done during the pandemic, so the town of Ossian and their police department have begun supplying their older citizens with what they’re calling “isolation communication” packets.
“We know a lot of our residents are just worried about leaving their homes at all and so we completely understand that,” said Ossian P.D. Sgt. Stephanie Tucker. “The isolation communication packet kind of gives them a way to let the community know or friends and neighbors know that they have a need in their home.”
The packets include three colored papers for people to hang in a window on the front of their house: green to signal that they are okay, yellow for an everyday kind of errand, and red for more urgent matters like if someone needs a prescription medication picked up. The idea is to encourage people to help out their older neighbors, but Ossian P.D. still advises caution if you do not know the person on the other side of the door.
“We’re encouraging our residents to not open the door to anyone that they don’t know. Also, we’re telling our residents if you see a red or yellow sign in a window and you don’t know the people personally, to contact the police department or the town hall and we will be the ones to approach the home.”
The department has only passed out around a dozen packets but is getting more requests as word spreads. They are also keeping a running list of the houses using the packets and will drive by those residences periodically to see if they need any help. That ability to take the time and do that is one of the reasons the system is beneficial in smaller communities.
“The fact that we do live in a small town, that’s a huge benefit. People know each other and if you don’t, this is still a way to help them out. when you can. For our police department, obviously we’re not nearly as busy as some of the larger cities and so we are able to help out with some of those needs as well.”
Although the red paper is meant to signal an urgent need, the paper system is not meant to be a replacement for emergency services. If you do need immediate assistance or have an emergency, call 9-1-1. Packets can be requested by calling the Ossian Town Hall during business hours Monday through Friday or by calling the Ossian Police Department.