More than 5,000 elderly people in Rome now have a helping hand thanks to a system of telephone assistance known as “Non pi soli” (No longer alone). The service, which is run by Farmacap, the company that runs the city council pharmacies, involves the installation of a special machine, attached to the telephone. The elderly person is also fitted with a wrist watch, which keeps a constant check on the wearer’s pulse, blood pressure and movement. An alarm is automatically given if there is a change in the readings or if the wearer presses an emergency button on the watch. Once the alarm is raised someone at the call centre tries to speak to the elderly person but if this is not possible alerts the emergency services. Over Christmas and the New Year 17 elderly people were given prompt assistance. The service is free for anyone with an annual income of under €11,000 and for those with a higher income the cost is based on income, up to a maximum of €15 per month. For information telephone 0657088700 or the Rome city council call centre 060606.