Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday, Again - TeleCare - Volunteerism

Monday seems to come around far to soon, a reminder another week of life has past incredibly at the speed of light.

Today was my volunteer day to work TeleCare, a free daily morning phone call to subscribers. Two friends and I formed this group in response to an incident my husband regaled to me.

He delivered Senior Meals on Wheels for several years. In the course of his route he entered senior citizens' homes to deliver the meals. Some wanted the meals in their refrigerator or freezer for later consumption.

One day he entered an apartment to find the recipient on the floor, having fallen several hours earlier. He called 911 for emergency help and stayed until their arrival. During the interlude the lady told him, this was not the first time she had fallen; the last time she fell, it was two days before someone found her.

He planted this seed in our minds. We investigated what volunteers could do and organized TeleCare, loosely organized group of volunteers who work mornings 365 days a year (including holidays) to call those who are fearful of living alone. There is no age limit, but the clientele generally is above the age of 60. We have gentlemen, ladies, and married couples.

Once a year we have a light luncheon for our clientele, so they meet the volunteers with whom they've been talking. Long-time clients look forward to this yearly event.

Some volunteers are brief and there are some who chat a bit longer. The sound of a human voice is reassuring to a lonely person who never hears the phone ring. I'm on the chatty side.

TeleCare is only one tool toward helping persons live longer, independently in their homes.

Invariably, the clients cheer me up more than I probably do for them.

Our small town would be lost without volunteers, such as our Fire (Department) and Police (Department) auxiliaries, hospital and nursing home auxiliaries, churches whose members unselfishly work in our communities, and organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rotary Club, Food Pantry, Library Friends, and the unsung heroes on every block - neighbors.

There is a nationally sponsored event once a year, called Make A Difference Day. In our town we have many people who make a difference every day--and they are mostly past 50 years of age themselves.

Luckie knows we have persons who check on pets and plants alone at home, while their owners are hospitalized, tending family emergencies, shopping or simply enjoying a rare vacation! Further, she is grateful for the many volunteers who work for the Humane Society and other animal shelters!

On a different note, one of the blogs I read is having a 100th Post Giveaway. If you are interested , please check out Just Sweet Enough .


Sweetie Pie said...

What a great post and what a great service to your community! I have such a big place in my heart for the elderly, and I understand this problem too well. My grandmother fell and my mother, after getting no answer to the daily phone call, went over and found her. She'd been lying there for quite some time, but it would have been much worse if not for the fact that someone was checking in on her. I admire you so much, and I'm sure that the people you call appreciate the sound of your voice more than you may ever know. Awesome!

Pat - Arkansas said...

What a wonderful system to have in place! I know how reassuring it can be to know that someone will be checking to see if you're OK. My friend and I, both age 74, talk to each other by phone every morning except Sunday, when we see each other in church.

I'm ashamed to say that I don't know if such a system exists in my own community; guess I'd better find out.

Onedia Hayes Sylvest said...

great post and I know the people whom you check on look forward to your calls.

Amber Star said...

I think your Telecare system is a wonderful idea and all round good program. It fills the needs of those who need to be checked on and also, gives the caller a sense of purpose and being needed. I salute you for helping set it up and carrying through with it.

We have been volunteering for nearly 10 years now with the police dept in our area.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a geat idea and a wonderful service. Bless you all for preforming a service few think of except those alone or who have a loved one alone.
I have a neighbor who checks daily to make sure my lights come on in the morning. Also a daily blog lets my family know if I am up and about each day.
Thank you so much for stopping by.