Milan launches heatwave plan

City helps housebound elderly.

Milan’s city authorities have extended social services to help elderly, infirm or disabled residents cope with the summer heat.

A toll-free number – 800 777 888 – will be available daily from 08.00 to 20.00 for those needing assistance and for anyone wanting to tell the staff about somebody in urgent need.

The city is home to 24,000 old people who already receive assistance, some 7,000 of them aged over 75. Now the soaring temperatures have boosted the number of the old and frail needing a helping hand.

Last year between June and September the city carried out over 24,000 calls, of which half were “meals on wheels” delivered to the housebound. Other forms of help included a thousand calls for help with personal hygiene, 400 for housecleaning and 500 for accompanying older people to the doctor’s surgery or other destinations, as well as providing company.

This year, the summer started with relatively mild temperatures, with only 200 requests during June. But the current heatwave, with temperatures often reaching 35°C, means city staff are preparing for many more calls for help.

Other activities include afternoon “neighbourhood fiestas”, to socialise in cool courtyards, as well as cinema, swimming pool, museum and other visits, including a €5 ticket for Expo 2015 for the least affluent.

The €392,000 earmarked by city hall for the programme has been increased by a further €150,000 donated by private contributors and commercial sponsors.