By just simply picking up the phone, volunteers like Allison Atwood are making a difference for seniors in the Lethbridge community.
“I know from working with them and doing activities with them, how lonely and depressed they were then, so I just knew they were probably being even more isolated, they were even more depressed and lonely and I found that to be true with talking to them,” she said.
Atwood volunteers with The Keep In Touch program. It’s about connecting seniors who could use a friendly chat with community volunteers.
“The whole idea behind it is to get in touch and to keep in touch with seniors who are isolated or feeling lonely or dealing with health issues,” said, Connie-Marie Riedlhuber, seniors’ program coordinator with Volunteer Lethbridge.
The program began in April, aimed at seniors struggling with the isolation caused by COVID-19. Currently, about 60 seniors are paired with volunteers. The commitment is for a minimum of six months, and the calls are once or twice a week.
“Just talk about what is going on in their life, what they are finding difficult or what they enjoy, and they can also get information if they are looking for a resource in the community or help with something they aren’t sure how to access,” added Riedlhuber.
She said, with so many services and resources moving online during the pandemic, it has become very difficult for seniors to get information if they don’t have a computer or know how to navigate the internet
Atwood said she has gained so much from volunteering and enjoys chatting regularly with some seniors in the community, who she now considers friends.
“I hope we get the chance to meet face to face, I would love that,” Atwood added.
The Keep in Touch program is expanding to rural areas and can send information packages to communities wanting to start their own program. Anyone looking for information, wanting to volunteer or to register senior for the program can visit Volunteer Lethbridge.