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Program makes calls to seniors

Since 2001, the program has seen 14 people become part of Telephone Reassurance in Albany County, some of which are Colonie residents.

But without funding by the Albany County Department for Aging, the Telephone Reassurance program might not be possible.

According to Maureen Murphy, Albany County Department for Aging communications specialist, the program costs about $14,400 to fund per year, which includes some funding by the federal government. The federal funding comes from The Supportive Services Grant.

Murphy praised the program for providing, "In home contact and support services for our seniors living in isolation."

On the caller's side, who were also confidential according to Sennett, the experience can be rewarding as individuals are volunteering their time to reach out, most of the time, to their peers.

"Most of the volunteers are retired also," said Sennett.

There is no maximum age to receive the calls, however you must be at least 60 years old, according to Sennett. She also said that the program prefers to have callers of a minimum age of 18 so that the content of the calls will be appropriate for the seniors.

Overall, the program serves two purposes, said Sennett. It serves to check up on seniors who may need someone to make sure everything is going well in their home and with their health and it provides a socialization to them which they may have lost when their closest companions have passed away or moved on.

However, the program is strictly for those individuals who are housebound. According to Sennett, by limiting the calls to only housebound seniors, the program is able to reach out to individuals who don't have the socialization opportunities that other seniors, who live in retirement villages have.

Sennett said the program would enjoy having more participants, both on the calling and receiving end.

Anyone interested in participating can contact either the Red Cross at 458-811 ext. 3006, Albany County Department for Aging at 447-7177 or Town of Colonie Senior Resource Center at 459-5051.""

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