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YOU GOT MAIL AND ELDER CARE – FRENCH POSTAL SERVICE GIVES OPTION FOR BOTH

As a result of an aging population and declining use of “snail mail” (resulting in a loss of stamp revenue), the French postal service now has a program entitled “Watch Over My Parents” whereby the postal worker visits the senior citizen (if subscribed to the service) every week. The subscription fee for the month plus an emergency-call button costs approximately $50. The postal service employee usually visits the elderly relative of a subscriber and then, by an app, reports on their conversation as well as the senior’s needs (after the senior signs a tablet to confirm the visit). Approximately 7,500 elderly are enrolled in the program – many of whom are isolated and lonely.

Since stamps alone can no longer support the cost of postal service, in addition to this program, postal workers are doing other services such as flower delivery and picking up prescriptions. As a result of these additional services, stamp revenue was less than 30% of revenue of the French postal service and the French postal system no longer runs at a deficit and is now profitable (it has a surplus). Several other countries have now launched programs whereby there is a connection with postal workers helping seniors.

With an increasing elderly population in America and with our postal system running at a deficit, perhaps the United States should consider its own version of such a program.

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