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Unique Program Saves Life of Elderly Woman After Deputy Realizes She's in Trouble

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Plenty of families live far from their elderly loved ones, and not every senior citizen has family or friends who check up on them regularly. The distance or absence of such important people in their lives is lonely, can be dangerous, and is a real issue for many seniors living on their own.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois has an answer for this particular problem: their R.U.O.K. program. According to Sheriff John D. Idleburg, it helped save a woman’s life last Friday.

Also known as the Personal Wellness Check, the program involves a representative from the sheriff’s office reaching out to registered members every day or so by phone, just to check in on them and make sure they’re doing well.

“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office provides a program called, R.U.O.K. (Are You Okay) for Lake County residents living alone, who benefit from being checked on every day or two,” the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said in a post on Facebook.

“The program is designed to assist those who do not have family or friends that are regularly able to check in on them.”

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Interested parties can register online or by phone to be included in the program.

“Four years ago, Sheriff Idleburg changed the nature of the program from reactive to proactive, where members of the sheriff’s office proactively call the R.U.O.K resident, versus the resident calling and leaving a message for the sheriff’s office,” the post continued.

While last Friday was the 13th, it ended up being a very good day for one 77-year-old resident whose life was saved thanks to the program. On Friday, Deputy Katie Gordon tried to call this particular woman in unincorporated Lake Villa, but there was no answer.

The day before, when the senior citizen had been called, she had sounded especially tired. That, combined with the lack of an answer on Friday, prompted Gordon to request a welfare check.

Deputies Trish List and Jessica Fill made the call and, after getting no answer when knocking, managed to acquire a key to the house and entered.

The 77-year-old was lying on the floor, where she appeared to have been for up to 24 hours. She was alive and was taken to the hospital, where she is expected to make a full recovery.

If it hadn’t been for the program and these three deputies, though, the woman’s outcome could have been very different.

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“The collaboration between Deputies Gordon, List, and Fill undoubtedly saved a life,” Sheriff Idleburg said. “This is not the first time the R.U.O.K. program saved a life and I am very proud of everyone who has a role in the program.”

Many commented on the post to commend the fine work being done, share their own family’s experiences with the program, or express interest in learning more about the program.

“We have my grandpa on this and it’s such a great program,” one person wrote.

“They have been unable to reach him twice and they immediately called my father and then when they couldn’t get ahold of him, they called me to see when we spoke to him last. One time the police went to his house, used the key to get in and his car wasn’t in the garage, he forgot to call before he went to church and the other time he didn’t hear his alarm go off.

“The program he is in, he has to call them every day at 10am. IT’S GREAT!”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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