La Poste, France’s national postal service, is diversifying to combat a downturn in physical mail. They are offering a ‘Watch over my parents’ service to reassure customers that their elderly parents’ needs are taken care of. The postal worker will drop in on the parents on a given day of the week for 5-10 minutes while on their normal postal route. They ask a list of questions including ‘Are you well?’ and ‘Do you need a doctor?’. This information is then relayed onto their relatives. The local mail carrier can then be asked to complete daily chores for them including buying groceries. As part of the program, the elderly are provided a button on a wrist strap to be used to contact a call centre in case of emergency. This can also be used to find someone like a local tradesmen to complete work around the house if necessary.
This initiative is especially useful if some citizens are at risk of loneliness or neglect. Other benefits of this scheme include ensuring many more individuals remain autonomous in their own home rather than having to be moved to nursing homes.