— I Ching – The Book of Changes, late 9th century
By Robert Bradley
Bill Dick has been tireless in his dedication to improving the lives of others for the entirety of his nearly ten years living in Cuenca. His latest contributions are stellar for both their simplicity and importance.
In the spring of 2018, a group of expats met at Casa Azul on San Sebastian Plaza to discuss pressing issues affecting seniors. Central to their concern was the ability of older folks to remain connected to the community — and to have a support system in place to assist them in time of need. Two projects quickly surfaced, The Buddy Circle, and the Yellow Dot Program. Dick took on the responsibility of developing both, and after three years of effort, the rewards are blooming.
The Buddy Circle is an easy-to-use emergency monitoring system designed by Dick and a highly skilled local computer programmer, Alex Samaniego, to integrate family and friends into a reliable daily support system to maintain contact and serve as a front-line communication resource to summon aid in times of crisis. It is designed as an automatic daily check-in system on your cellphone.
Once you set a time to be notified, your phone will ring every day at the appropriate time, if you do not answer by “checking in” a second attempt to contact you in 30 minutes is automatically generated. If there is no response, the third call is attempted. If there is still no answer, a notification call is generated to all of those who you have pre-chosen alerting them that you have not answered and that there may be a potential problem. It will also provide a Google map of your location. The app can accommodate up to eight members of your chosen Buddy Circle and has an emergency one-button call you can push to summon emergency 911 assistance.
The program is available in Spanish and English without cost for both Apple and Android operating systems:
The Yellow Dot program is a method of informing emergency services and first responders of pertinent medical and contact information. This collaborative arrangement with ECU 911, Ecuador’s emergency response system, will soon be widely distributed throughout Cuenca.
Participants place the Yellow Dot decal on the upper right corner of the outside of their front door where it can be readily seen by first responders. This will indicate that a folder (or envelope) is attached to the interior of the door listing the resident’s medical history and any currently prescribed medication allowing medical personnel to immediately know the patient’s history, and can serve as an invaluable aid in a crisis situation.
A downloadable version of the medical information sheet and yellow dot decal is available at http:cuencaexpatassist.org
For more inforation, please contact Bill Dick at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 099.315.1351