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Reducing Non-Essential 911 Calls by Seniors

July 23, 2021

By David Rios

Across the country, emergency responders are responsible for providing residents with the most effective and rapid emergency, fire, rescue and prevention services. With once desolate areas becoming developed and increasingly residential, the need for emergency services is at an all-time high. However, non-emergency calls to 911 are an increasing issue, with some municipalities reporting as many as 40% of their calls as nonessential. 

Seniors make up a large number of these calls, sometimes for assistance with non-emergency issues or even seeking respite from their isolation. These non-essential 911 calls can bog down response time, making it difficult for responders to reach truly emergent cases in an appropriate time frame. However, through partnerships with Oasis Senior Advisors and others in the community, these issues can be addressed.

One community that has seen results through partnering with Oasis is Dallas Fire-Rescue (D.F.R.).  D.F.R.’s target when responding to 911 calls is to be on-site within eight minutes or less of the call. At the end of 2020, D.F.R. was able to achieve the eight-minute response time 88.84% of the time.

Achieving this mark was a challenge for some stations. Located in a rapidly growing area, D.F.R’s Station 53 experienced a 10% increase of 911 calls between 2019 and 2020, and the majority were non-emergency calls from senior residents who were relying on 911 as assisted living support. A significant percentage of non-essential calls from seniors were derived from:

  • Seniors in independent living communities: 
    • Seniors needing assistance with medication
    • Seniors needing assistance getting into their wheelchairs or using their walkers
  • Seniors living at home without family support

One frequent caller was a woman in her late 70s, who often relied on emergency responders for completing daily tasks. When a paramedic who often responded to her calls came across a business card for Oasis Senior Advisors Dallas, he quickly took action and called the advisor. The next day, the paramedic and advisor were able to meet with the woman to learn more about her lifestyle and medical needs. It was through this conversation that they were able to determine the exact areas in which the woman needed support.

The Oasis Senior Advisor was able to then help the woman find the perfect senior living community to meet her needs. Once she made the transition into assisted living, the 911 calls stopped because she was receiving the care and support that she had needed all along. When the paramedic stopped by for a visit, the woman was happy, healthy, and pleased to not rely on 911 anymore. 

Oasis Senior Advisors Dallas is bridging the gap in addressing non-essential 911 calls from seniors. This partnership allows first responders to keep their primary focus on emergency calls while connecting seniors with a trusted guide for their care. 

It is important to remember that Oasis Senior Advisors is never a replacement for 911, but instead is a trusted resource for local emergency services to connect with seniors who need additional help with daily activities or individuals whom they see as being appropriate for assisted living communities.

If you know a senior who needs more assistance, your local Oasis Senior Advisor is available to help.  Contact Oasis Senior Advisors at (888) 455-5838. One call can offer many solutions.