Welfare telephone calls help dozens of elderly residents

DOZENS of elderly residents have been helped by Carmarthenshire County Council’s trading standards team through welfare telephone calls in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the residents that were helped include a 93-year-old in self isolation, who normally relies on a family member for support, and was unable to access essential food and medication as the relevant family member was, at the time, in self isolation.

Also, a consumer in self isolation was found to be suffering from severe mental health issues as well as a respiratory condition. They required support as they had been unable to access essential goods and were living off yoghurts and diet drinks due to an eating disorder.

Council staff were able to identify high risk residents through the council’s Truecall nuisance call blocking systems and provide them with support during the coronavirus outbreak. The majority using the call blocker are over the age of 80. Since the project was established in 2013, Trading Standards have installed and monitored 120 Truecall devices. The device has blocked over 76,189 nuisance telephone calls and has prevented some of the most vulnerable residents in Carmarthenshire from being scammed over the telephone.

Other residents requiring assistance included an 81-year-old, who had no family and was living alone, expressed concerns regarding the sustainability of their arrangement for accessing essential goods and services should their neighbours become unwell. The consumer also needed to access money held in their bank account. Council staff contacted the consumer’s bank to arrange for money to be withdrawn by a third party and deliver the money to the consumer.

An elderly, vulnerable couple in self isolation required support as they were facing difficulty in organising for the collection and delivery of their monthly prescriptions.

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A consumer, who has now been given support, was confused when their cleaner, who normally gets food on their behalf, had failed to do so. It was unclear whether they were self-isolating themselves.

Trading standards are responsible for enforcing legislation associated with Fair Trading, Fraud, Weights & Measures, Safety, Age Restricted Products and Trademarks.

The calls also provided an opportunity to review the performance of the call blocking devices.

The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Philip Hughes said: “The majority of the consumers who have the call blocking facility are over 80 and are particularly vulnerable during this difficult time. Particularly with the social distancing measures, in accordance with government guidance it was likely that they would be experiencing difficulty in obtaining essentials goods and services. By making these telephone calls we were able to find out if any assistance was required and provide them with it. The calls were also a welcomed friendly voice to some who are feeling lonely and might not have any family or friends to talk to.”

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