During this pandemic social isolation has affected a lot of people.
Older adults, specifically those who live alone, may have been impacted the most.
The Council on Aging of Central Oregon was recently awarded more than $130,000 to extend its Caring Connection program.
It is designed to support isolated seniors with a friendly phone call.
“It’s …. kind of become pretty necessary for me to receive those,” said Ronnie Martien.
Martien lives at the Little Deschutes Lodge, a retirement community in La Pine.
Every Friday he receives a phone call from a volunteer with the caring connections program.
“Part of my life would be absent without that,” said Martien.
That program started in November by the Council on aging connecting volunteers with seniors to combat loneliness
Martien, 79, was one of the first people to be a part of the program.
“It is a requirement I think of genuineness between people,” he said. “We’re not here alone, but sometimes we can be living alone, but not be alone.”
Recently the Central Oregon Health Council awarded the Council on Aging $137,837.
“We are going to be using that grant to expand the care and connection program out to Crook and Jefferson Counties,” said Program Outreach Manager for Council on Aging Emily Freeman.
Freeman says these phone calls help seniors live a healthy and independent life.
“It really turns into a friendship and a lot of times people forget they are on the program, or they don’t think of caring connections when they volunteer because that is just their friend now,” said Freeman.
Martien can confirm that firsthand.
“She is a real friend that I never met until you guys got me connected with her and I am very, very pleased and thankful for that,” said Martien.
If you are a senior interested in joining our Caring Connections program or know an older adult who would be a good fit for connecting to a volunteer weekly, please visit https://www.councilonaging.org/find-help/caring-connections/
Or call 541-678-5483.