“It’s comforting to know that I can phone her”
When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, he couldn’t have guessed that over 140 years later, people at risk of social isolation in Halton would use his invention to bond with others on a deep and personal level.
Janet is one of those people. When her husband passed away several years ago, she found herself living alone, and while she could spend time filling out crossword puzzles and watching Jeopardy, she also wanted to have someone to talk to. She has some visual impairment, but she can still have great conservations over the phone. She connected with Tele Touch, a program that has volunteers call people at risk of social isolation in Halton to provide comfort and joy. Janet was then matched with a volunteer named Colleen, another Burlington resident.
She calls Janet every Tuesday at 1:30 pm. Although Colleen lives a busy life, she always makes time for Janet, even if it that means sometimes rescheduling their call to a different day or time. They’re only supposed to speak for an hour at a time, but they often go on for 75-80 minutes. After all, they like to discuss many things. They’re both very interested in reading historical fiction and learning about each other’s lives. Colleen knows lots about Janet’s family, and Janet knows much about hers. They also enjoy discussing the news, and Colleen tells Janet about big stories and upcoming community events.
“She’s good with her descriptions of things” explained Janet. Colleen has visited 51 countries in her lifetime, and she can tell Janet about some of these places in incredible detail. In a manner of speaking, Janet gets to travel to places like Peru through the power of Colleen’s words.
“She’s a lovely lady” said Janet. “It’s comforting to know that I can phone her”
Colleen would be the first to admit that she gets lots out of the relationship as well. “It’s definitely a two way street” she revealed. “I realize that I’m getting a phone friend out of this. We can talk about current events, and we can laugh.”
Janet first connected with Acclaim Health almost a decade ago. She and her husband started using the company’s Home Support Exercise Program to stay fit. Since then, she has been visited by Friendly Visitors and nurses, who do their best to help her stay happy and healthy. That’s what they want most.