ELKHORN — The Walworth County Aging & Disability Resource Center is launching a new TeleFriend program designed to promote the security of older adults and adults with disabilities while reducing loneliness, isolation, depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline through daily or weekly telephone calls.
The ADRC is seeking volunteers willing to make friendly phone calls to participants at least one day per week for a minimum of six months.
“TeleFriend volunteers can make a real difference in the lives of seniors and adults with disabilities who live alone or feel isolated,” says Colleen Lesniak, Walworth County volunteer services coordinator.
“Many of these individuals want to remain independent and age in place in their own homes; however, because they are isolated or homebound, meaningful relationships are difficult to come by. The volunteers serve as a lifeline for this population.”
In addition to providing much-needed social interaction, TeleFriend also helps to ensure the safety and well-being of participants. If a participant does not answer the phone at the designated time, a series of safety checks is followed before an emergency response is activated.
“Among its many benefits, the TeleFriend program helps the ADRC and local law enforcement partner for more efficient problem solving of safety issues involving older adults and adults with disabilities,” says Randy Kohl, ADRC manager.
Volunteers should be good listeners and keen conversationalists willing to establish friendly, caring relationships with seniors or adults with disabilities over the phone. The ADRC is looking for a minimum time commitment of at least one call per week for a minimum of six months. The ADRC will provide an orientation and training. The first volunteer training session is scheduled for June 16 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Walworth County Health and Human Services building, 1910 County Rd. NN, Elkhorn.
To volunteer, contact Colleen Lesniak, Walworth County volunteer services coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (262) 741-4223. A volunteer application and additional program information can also be found at www.co.walworth.wi.us/574/Volunteer.