Program makes calls to seniors

It's easy to find someone to talk to when you come from a large family, all of which are still living and constantly have time to call. But what do you do when your relatives pass away, your friends develop serious illnesses, and your own children are so busy with their own lives that they simply do not have enough time to check up on you everyday?

For senior citizens living in Albany County, the answer is as simple as asking for a volunteer to call.

According to Christine Cary, director of the Town of Colonie Senior Resources Department, the Telephone Reassurance program is a free service which is run through the American Red Cross. We make referrals for the program for seniors in the town that are local and isolated, said Cary, "It's just a safety check."

Cary could not disclose any of the names of the participants in the program, however, she did say that sometimes family members call and recommend their loves ones for the program.

After the recommendation is made, according to Cary, the Red Cross gets involved with contacting the senior and matching them up with a volunteer who contacts the senior by phone.

"You don't have to be called everyday," said Edie Sennet, Coordinator of the Albany County Telephone Reassurance Company for the Red Cross, "They tell them how many times we can call them. We can call them seven days a week if they want."

Sennett said the phone calls can last as long as the senior feels comfortable with, and is basically a "friendly chat." The seniors can also decide how many times per week, and at what time of day they are called.

"We sent out a survey to [the seniors] and all of the folks are very happy with [the program]. Anytime they want to stop having the calls they can," said Sennett.

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