A new program in Innisfail aims to make seniors feel less lonely through a weekly phone call.
The town hopes to launch the Friendly Callers program this summer. The program is part of the Neighbours Helping Neighbours initiative.
“It’s to help more lonely and isolated seniors in the community,” said Allyssa Bremner, Innisfail community facilitator.
“This way someone can help keep them company over the phone and check in on them.”
Other Neighbours Helping Neighbours programs have volunteers help seniors or adults with disabilities, by mowing their lawns and working in their garden, shovelling snow and picking up large items.
The newest program is funded though a New Horizons for Seniors grant from the federal government.
Bremner said consistent contact from people would decrease feelings of anxiety and depression for seniors who live alone.
Volunteers are needed — Bremner said the most needed qualities are compassion and understanding for seniors, and the ability to speak with them easily.
The program’s volunteer orientation is being put together.
“Other communities have already started this program so I’m going to be reaching out to them and see what’s worked,” Bremner said.
Volunteers will be asked to make at least one 15- to 30-minute phone call a week with a senior or shut-in client.
“If (the volunteer) is alarmed about the well-being of the senior during the conversation, they’ll be instructed to contact us, and we’ll be able to get the correct help needed for them,” she said.
Seniors can sign themselves up for the program to get a weekly call.
Family members can also sign a senior up.
Both the senior and volunteer are required to have a reliable phone line to participate in the program.
For more information, visit www.innisfail.ca or call Bremner at 403-227-3376 ext. 225.