The mission of the Florida Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. The Lean On Me project is a part of that mission. Lean On Me is a group of Okaloosa-Walton Medical Reserve Corps (OWMRC) volunteers who make home visits and provide preparedness education to vulnerable populations. Senior citizens and disabled residents can contact the OWMRC for the Lean on Me project or to request assistance.

The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County organizes the Medical Reserve Corps and Lean On Me.

“Many of our senior citizens might not have family nearby and our goal is to make sure that they know what to do and who to call in any emergency,” said Dr. Karen Chapman, director DOH-Okaloosa. “It’s not just about a 911 call, but about having a list of medications, knowing where shelters are located or learning if they even have transportation.”

The OWMRC volunteers have assisted about 20 people since June and want to help more. Lean On Me volunteers start with a to-do checklist to help with each individual’s unique circumstances or needs. Below are some examples of the checklists they personally review with each resident they visit:

• Medication and/or medical equipment lists

• Checking for hazards in the home that may cause a fall or injury, or is a fire hazard

• Pet needs

• Transportation needs

• Shelter information

• Emergency contact numbers

The Lean On Me volunteers can provide a safety net and peace of mind to residents and family members, whether they are seniors, disabled or have a language barrier. Call us if you would like to volunteer or schedule a volunteer visit at 850-344-0575, visit mrc.hhs.gov/HomePage or email Shayne.Stewart@flhealth.gov. Information is kept strictly confidential and all volunteers are administered a background check.