The pilot project for the yellow boxes has been going on in the city since 2020 , Source: City of Ghent

New Ghent project wants to help save the lives of people over 65

New Ghent project wants to help save the lives of people over 65

Senior citizens will now be able to get a yellow box that will help paramedics make quicker and better decisions

Last week, the Belgian city of Ghent announced the launch of the yellow box (gele doos) programme for citizens over the age of 65. The decision came from the successful pilot project in the district of Ledeberg and it will reach out to people throughout the city.

Other cities in the European Union have also opted to introduce the measure, as is the case with the Polish city of Lublin and the 'Life Boxes' from 2019

A way to talk to someone during a crisis

The yellow box is a fairly simple concept that can have life-saving consequences. The box contains a booklet, where the owner can write their personal details, contacts and medical information. Then they put a sticker on the inside of their front door.

In the case of an emergency, when the paramedics arrive, they know to look for the yellow box in the fridge. This saves them valuable time in heated situations and can even be life-saving in others.

Furthermore, the yellow box initiative provides an interesting solution to the problem of elderly people living alone. According to data from Eurostat, in 2015 32.3% of all Belgians over the age of 65 live alone, which is close to the EU average.

Sofie Vanhoutte, head of the Emergency Center 112 East Flanders, was quoted in a press release, explaining that the box ensures that a victim can still communicate with the health professionals, even if he is no longer able to do so.

Rudy Coddens, Alderman for Elderly Policy and Health, in his own right, explained that this project has the potential to save human lives.

Reaching out to the community

The yellow box was launched as a pilot project in Ledeberg in 2020 and about 2,500 boxes have been handed out to citizens. Now, as local authorities plan to scale up the project, they plan to contact the 40,000 Ghent citizens over 65 via mail.

People will receive a letter that will allow them to collect their box in a local service centre or pharmacists. The city hopes to reach around 60% of the targeted population and has prepared 15,000 boxes and 25,000 booklets.



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