Jersey Post has introduced the Call and Check service that provides elderly or vulnerable citizens with a bespoke schedule of regular home visits.
As communities age and postal service revenue changes as technology develops, a number of projects are finding new ways to make the existing networks multi-purpose. In Finland, mail service employees now offer a weekly lawn mowing service during their regular rounds on Tuesdays, since this is the least demanding day of the week in terms of deliveries. In The Netherlands, supermarket cashiers have been trained to keep an eye on elderly customers for potential signs of loneliness or neglect.
On the Channel island of Jersey, Jersey Post has introduced a new initiative that combines the postal service’s regular rounds with a program of bespoke home visits for elderly or more vulnerable members of the community. Call and Check is currently running a pilot program that is free to use. Anyone interested in the service needs to register via a short, simple form. Visits are arranged on a daily, weekly or otherwise agreed basis, and postal service employees then relay messages and reports to each person’s designated network of contacts.
Feedback has been positive, and the service already extends to provision of holiday cover and support for care workers. Jersey Post is keen to emphasize that in no way are their employees providing medical care or assistance. How could smart cities replicate the effectiveness of or adapt local community schemes for taking care of their ageing populations?