Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services

Did you know that the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department has a program that can check to see if you are OK! It is called R.U.O.K. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Office for Aging Services (OFAS), provides this service. The referrals are processed by the OFAS NY Connects staff. You can also go online to apply at https://www.sheriff.us/ruok You can complete the online request below and you will be contacted by the OFA to confirm participation.

The R.U.O.K. Program is when a computer located in the Sheriff’s 911 Emergency Dispatch Center calls an elderly or home-bound individual of any age daily to ensure that they are okay. A computer program is used to call you at a prescribed time, it will automatically dial your phone number and wait for you to pick up and respond that you are OK.

How does this work?

The call is automated from the Sheriff’s computer. You decide if you want the computer phone call check once a day or twice a day at a certain time. At the time you designate, the computer will automatically dial your number and wait for an answer. When you pick up the telephone, you will hear a brief message. Once you respond, the computer assumes you are okay and the call is completed.

Will I be speaking to a live person?

No, you will not be speaking with a live person. A pre-recorded message from the sheriff will play when you answer the phone. Here is what subscribers hear: “This is the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. Please press any key for an important message.” Then you press any key on the phone. You then hear “Hello, this is the RUOK system. This is the call of the day for… (Jane Doe of 1 Main St Sherman 555-1212). Thank you for participating in the RUOK program.” When you do this, you are indicating that you are OK!

This is an easy way to have contact with someone outside your home. It is a way to keep connected. There is no charge for this service. It is free for residents of Chautauqua County.

What happens if you don’t answer that call?

When you sign up, you also provide the name and telephone number of someone who knows you- a friend, neighbor, or family member. This person is your backup person! What happens if your designated contact people can’t be reached? The Sheriff’s Office or the Police Department in your area will go to your residence to check on your well-being if your contact people cannot be reached.

What if I can’t answer the telephone immediately?

The computer will redial your number within a half hour. If you do not respond to the second call, an alarm goes off and the dispatcher will telephone whomever you have designated as contact people who have a key to your house or apartment.

To obtain more information about the R.U.O.K. program call NY Connects Helpline at (716) 753-4582 or e-mail us at CCNYC@chqgov.com NY Connects is the place to call to get the help you need. NY Connects assists people of all ages who have long-term needs and want to stay in the community. NY Connects offers information and assistance services. It is confidential and free and focused on the consumer’s needs and resources available to them. NY Connects is brought to you by the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services.