A free hotline for the elderly or those with no family has been set up by Milan city hall again this year, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at least until the end of August (and if the weather stays torrid, into September). The free-phone number 800 777 888 is principally intended for the over six thousand residents classified by the city social services as “fragile”, because they are over 75 years old and have no relatives registered at the same address. But of course it is not limited to them – the services are available to anyone, young or old, with disabilities or simply alone and with nobody to turn to.
Services include meals on wheels, cleaning the house or personal hygiene, or somebody to help them go shopping or visit the family doctor, seven days a week, from 08.00 to 19.00. Operators will also give out information on special summer initiatives for the elderly, such as senior citizens’ associations, free visits to museums and art centres, free cinema tickets, newspapers and milk, and admission to San Siro Stadium for non-championship matches.
And following on last year’s success, a new series of ”Neighbourhood Fiestas” is planned across the city for 17 July, with music and dancing in the piazzas and volunteer “social chefs” – professionals or just cooking enthusiasts – preparing free hot meals. This year the fiestas will for the first time include cookery displays and distribution of exotic dishes by members of the “new Italian” community of immigrants.
A totally new service, which started on 1 July, is the Alzheimer hotline, another free-phone helpline on 800 679 679 for those caring for Milan’s over fourteen thousand Alzheimer sufferers. Specialised psychologists and neuropsychologists will be on hand to give advice case by case, and information about the nearest help centre.