Local Volunteer Group Connects with Isolated Seniors through Daily Phone Calls

CARMICHAEL -- Far too many times senior citizens are forgotten but one volunteer program is looking to keep elderly people connected one phone call at a time.

When Karen Staydohar volunteers at Eskaton, she spends most of her time on the phone, hoping to make a friend at the other end of the line.

Eskaton Telephone Reassurance connects isolated senior citizens on the phone with a volunteer for routine check-ins or just to talk about their day.

"We as volunteers are giving back but what we get back is tenfold what we give," Staydohar said.

Sometimes senior citizens can go for days without speaking to other people.

Betty, 95, gets called three times a week and how she puts it, "they call Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8:30 in the morning and check to see if I'm still alive and kicking."

Betty has received calls from Eskaton for more than a year.

Even with her sense of humor, Betty says she's grateful to hear a voice on the other end of the line.

"It is nice to chat. Really interesting conversations. Mostly it's just if the weather is hot they say, 'Be sure and drink lots of water,'" Betty explained.

Volunteers have been making these calls for 22 years. Last year they made close to 70,000 phones calls to seniors in the Sacramento region.

"That connection with our volunteers it might be the only call they get in any single day," program manager Linda Whiteside explained.

The program can also save lives because they also serve as wellness checks.

"If we don't hear back from them we’re calling them the next day and if we don't get a hold that next day we calling their emergency contact numbers," Whiteside said.

If you know someone who would like to get a daily or weekly call from an Eskaton volunteer, you can visit the Eskaton website.