News : Buchanan's Compassionate Callers Club Provides Seniors with Lifeline
Buchann, MI, USA, Dec 27, 2017 -- It’s just a quick phone call, maybe every day, maybe just a couple of times a week.
Hi, how are you doing? Is everything OK? Do you need help with anything? A little chitchat. A lifeline.
The Compassionate Callers Club started this fall as a new, free program of the Buchanan Area Senior Center, aiming to serve seniors who may not visit the center on Rynearson Street but who may need help.
"We firmly believe our mission is to serve seniors who aren’t necessarily in contact with us every day," said Karli Wendorf, elder services facilitator at the center.
The program aims to serve people who may have medical or other problems, may not leave home much and may have no one to lend a hand.
A regular phone call from Wendorf lets her touch base, ask after their well-being and offer help.
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Maybe they need assistance signing checks, going grocery shopping or traveling to a doctor’s appointment.
There are a lot of practical ways Wendorf can help. And there’s a less tangible way she can help, too: by being someone to talk to, if only for five or 10 minutes.
"They need to hear another person’s voice," Wendorf said. "Just to converse with another person will really help them."
Perhaps most importantly, the program can help seniors who are alone and find themselves in trouble.
Wendorf said she will track seniors’ speech patterns and moods to recognize something amiss in their voices.
If they don’t answer the phone, she’ll send someone to check on them.
Wendorf said if she doesn’t get an answer after calling three times, she alerts an emergency contact person for the senior. If that doesn’t work, she calls the Buchanan Police Department.
Buchanan Police Chief and City Manager Bill Marx said police are happy to collaborate with the senior center.
"Elder crime is an issue. They’re vulnerable," Marx said. "Some of them become more vulnerable as they grow older and having this rapport with our senior center and our police department only enhances our ability to protect and serve."
A handful of people have signed up so far, and Wendorf has been working to identify more seniors for the program. Working with people who deliver commodities or meals to homebound seniors has been one way to do that. Getting the word out about the program is another.
"We absolutely feel there are a number of people out there who could benefit from this program," Wendorf said.
How to sign up
Anyone interested in signing up for Compassionate Callers Club can contact the Buchanan Area Senior Center at 269-695-7119.
You will be asked for basic information, including emergency contacts and medical conditions. Seniors can choose the time of day they receive the call, and how frequently during the week they want to be called.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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