Ask the Expert: Vial of Life and Project CARE

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Andrea Holmberg, program coordinator for Sharp Senior Resource Centers, talks about two important programs for seniors.

What is Project CARE?
Project CARE (Community Action to Reach the Elderly) for Seniors is a service that’s unique to San Diego County. It involves a number of different agencies working together to keep people in their homes and safe.

In East County, our office handles Project CARE as the lead agency, and one of the services that we provide is we call people once a day to check on them and make sure that they are all right. It’s open to anyone and different agencies handle different zip codes. If they don’t answer, then we’ll call their neighbor or friend or relative and ask them to please go check on that person, that they are not answering that day. And if they are going to be gone for a little while, on vacation or at the doctor’s office, they just let us know.

Are other services available with Project CARE?
The other services involved with Project Care include a visit from one of the senior retired volunteer patrol. They’re trained by the police and sheriff’s departments to do friendly visits and to watch for signs of abuse or neglect so that they are able to help the person stay in the home and get a friendly visit at the same time.

How much does Project CARE cost?
It’s a free service.

What is Vial of Life?
We also have the program called the Vial of Life, which is a box that you put on the outside of your refrigerator and inside goes your medical information. When the paramedics come in, they know to look on the outside of the refrigerator and they can see your name, your address, your doctor's information, what medical conditions you may have and your medications.

So we give those vials of life to people so that they are able to organize their information and have it in one place so that if in an emergency, they’re not running around trying to find the pillboxes in the bathroom or where the wallet might be. Download the Vial of Life form now.

For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's senior health services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about senior health, read the Senior Health News archive.

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About the Expert
Andrea Holmberg is program coordinator for Sharp Senior Resource Centers.