A group of 15 volunteers are making a big difference in the lives of seniors during these unprecedented times. Each week, volunteers call residents of Linden Knoll, a senior living community, and the Friendly Home, a nursing home, to say a cheery hello and check in to see if there is anything they need. I am so proud of these volunteers. They have truly stepped up to the challenge of helping to relieve the sense of isolation many seniors are experiencing. When our volunteers began making these calls back in March when visitor restrictions were put into place, I’m not sure they realized the benefits that they themselves would receive in turn. It’s wonderful to establish these connections, now more than ever, and all are looking forward to putting faces with voices when they can!
The volunteers have found fulfillment and friendship through the weekly phone conversations. Says Helene, one of the callers, “I started making the calls as a way to be helpful while staying home during the pandemic. I continue to make the calls because these people have become my friends. It’s been fascinating to discover each person’s personality.” Janet, another volunteer, adds, “I enjoy calling the residents because it makes me feel like I am providing some comfort during this difficult time. All in all, I think I get more out of the experience than I give!”
Through their phone calls, volunteers have gotten to know residents who have written books, who order treats from delicatessens in Manhattan, who have worked on Wall Street, and who have come from every part of the world. Some have experienced the loss of spouses or children, or have suffered illnesses. They’ve discovered a building full of independent seniors who fill their days with painting, reading, making cards for friends, creating stained glass art, baking, writing poetry, keeping up with current events and much more.
All of the volunteers agree that they are receiving as much as they are giving. “It makes my day when a senior says ‘I smile when I see your name on the caller ID,’” says volunteer Carol. “One gentleman shared that he had been through the Great Depression, World War II and other significant events in history, and that we’ll get through this just like we’ve gotten through everything else. It is truly uplifting to talk to people who have experienced so much of life and see it from such a positive perspective.” Doug, a long-time Friendly Home volunteer agrees: “I get as much out of the calls as the people I’m calling! I will continue the calls, and make visits too, after restrictions are lifted.”
The Friendly Home is grateful for the dedicated and compassionate service provided by our extraordinary volunteers!
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