Elderly people can often experience loneliness after spending weeks or months at a time in an assisted living facility. Most seniors welcome any opportunity for human interaction, whether or not it’s in person. Fortunately, Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia (SCNOVA) offers a Friendly Caller Program for its seniors, in addition to a Friendly Visitor Program. Here is a close look at this free service.
SCNOVA Friendly Caller Program
As part of our Friendly Caller Program, volunteers routinely (about once per week) reach out to clients ages 50 and up (both home bound and not) by phone. This provides our seniors citizens with regular opportunities for conversation and connection. They can choose to either talk about light subjects such as their daily activities and hobbies or more serious matters, such as their family life or deepest concerns. The calls are made according to the caller’s and senior’s schedules. Friendly callers can also help elders reach out to emergency contacts or call 911 when necessary.
This program is especially meaningful and beneficial to seniors with physical or mental health issues and disabilities, as well as LGBTQ+ older adults who have faced discrimination. Studies have shown that a lack of regular human interaction can lead to depression and isolation, in addition to causing a person’s face and throat muscles to atrophy and weaken faster. The Friendly Caller Program is also a safe way for seniors to communicate with others at a distance, which has been a priority for many since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The Friendly Caller Program can also ultimately help lead to the formation of long-term friendships between callers and seniors. We all strive for human connection and this service serves as an excellent way to accomplish that. Sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes of friendly conversation for an older adult to be reminded that there is someone out there who cares about them and who is always willing to listen to their wants and needs.
Become a Friendly Caller Today
Reach out to the professionals at Shepherd’s Center to learn more about how to become a friendly caller. Since 1998, we have been committed to caring for adults aged 50 and older throughout Northern Virginia and improving their overall quality of life. The areas we serve include Reston, Vienna, Oakton, Merrifield, Dunn Loring, Great Falls, and Herndon. Our staff includes over 250 volunteers who are vetted and trained to care for older adults and help them live healthy, stable, and fulfilled lives. We aim to create a world where loneliness is nonexistent and engagement between different community members is optimized. No specific skills are required of volunteers, and we always welcome military veterans to participate in our service programs.