It’s rare that a wake-up call can save a life. But, it can happen. And that’s why the North Port Police Department’s HEARTS program is so important.

Imagine if you are an older person, living alone, with no family nearby. What would you do if you woke up one morning, deathly ill and unable to reach your cellphone? Or what if you slipped in the shower? How long would it take someone to find you? How could you get help?

We’ve read stories recently about people, in other towns and states, who were found dead as long as three years after they passed. Unfortunately, today’s lifestyles where people respect your privacy maybe a little too much and neighbors don’t always really know their neighbors, lends itself to people becoming more and more isolated.

That’s where NPPD’s Helping Ensure Active Response by Telephoning Seniors (HEARTS) program comes in.

Anyone who lives in North Port and is 60 or older, with health issues or who lives alone, can apply for the program. If accepted, they get a call each morning from a volunteer.

Now some might feel a daily phone call can be annoying. But for many older city residents it is a welcome call. A sign someone cares. And, in rare cases, a call that could save their life or provide assistance in a time of need.

That’s because if you don’t answer your phone, a police officer will come by your home and check on you. It’s kinda like being a good neighbor.

We only know of one other city with a similar program and that is Venice with its Senior Assistance Freedom Enrichment (SAFE). We would urge other cities to consider copying this life-saving approach.

Meanwhile, if you live in North Port, and you want to check out the program, call Mandy West at 941-429-7341.

Do it and you will never be forgotten.


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