PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- You may have heard of the Heat Helpline that the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging operates during heat emergencies. That same phone line is open year-round, providing a number of additional services.
Nearly 300 times a day - pandemic or not - the Helpline connects older Philadelphians with the resources they need.
"We're seeing a rise in instances where people are suffering from food insecurity or hunger," said Najja Orr, CEO of the Philadelphia Corporation For Aging. "There is also increased concern for social isolation."
According to Orr, whether it's locating one of two dozen PCA senior centers across Philadelphia to make new social contacts, or getting assistance in the home, the Helpline - 215-765-9040 - can get the process started.
"Give us a call. We love to help people and we really want to keep widening our reach," said Nolan Lawrence, Helpline manager.
However, the Helpline's most important service is taking reports of suspected elder abuse and neglect.
Specially-trained workers are available 24/7 to deal with every situation, including physical, financial, or sexual abuse. Every call is confidential and every report goes to the investigative unit.
"They'll send a team out or an individual out to look into the concerns," said Orr.
Sometimes a senior's caregiver - or even the senior - is overstretched and needs more support. Sometimes stronger action is needed.
"We can go so far as often even working with law enforcement," said Orr.
:And people can always call us for updates as well," added Lawrence.
The PCA hopes to reduce elder abuse through the Helpline the same way its work with the city has saved lives during the searing heat.
"Over the course of the last 20 years, we've seen heat deaths for seniors in Philadelphia dwindle," said Lawrence.
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Helpline phone number is 215-765-9040.