Seniors contact service provides security, comfort

Many people not aware that Kelowna offers community calling service for seniors living on their own without any nearby family relatives.

Wade Paterson

Staff Reporter

Colleen Williamson doesn’t have any family to speak with in Kelowna.

But every weekday morning, between 9:10 and 9:20 a.m., she sits near the phone and awaits a call from someone who cares.

The Senior Contact Program is an initiative geared to serve anyone who is living alone and does not have a regular caregiver, friend or relative checking in on him/her on a regular basis.

Volunteer staff based out of community policing offices in Glenmore, Mission and Rutland typically call those signed up between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. from Monday to Friday.

If there is no answer, the volunteer will call back at least three times within the hour. If there is still no answer, the volunteer will then contact one of the people listed as an emergency contact.

“They call me every morning between 9:10 and 9:20 a.m.; that’s a good time for me,” said Williamson.

“First of all they ask me how I’m feeling. That’s a good thing because some days are better than others.”

Williamson said that if it weren’t for the program, her out-of-town family would be much more worried about her.  “I would recommend it to anybody that’s in a situation similar to mine. I depend on it.”

Colleen Cornock manages the program for the Kelowna detachment. She said feedback from users has been encouraging. “It’s been a very positive experience for our seniors. It’s given them a chance to get to know volunteers within the community and also get to know their Kelowna detachment, because a lot of times they are isolated within their communities,” said Cornock.

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said that the program has been running for about five years. The Senior Contact Program is one of 32 different community initiatives produced by the RCMP. “If you don’t have family or somebody checking up on you, then who does? We have lots of those people in this community,” said McKinnon.

McKinnon said he’s pushing to get the program included in West Kelowna and Lake Country as well.

Volunteers go through a very detailed procedure when contacting the seniors. Some of the guidelines include calling the senior at the same time each morning, leaving a message if the senior doesn’t answer, allowing him/her an hour to call back and monitoring the sound of the client’s voice to ensure he/she is alright. Those who are living on their own and don’t have family, relatives or a regular caregiver in the Central Okanagan qualify for the program.

For more information contact the Senior Contact Program at: 250-763-1531 (Glenmore), 250-764-5004 (Mission) or 250-765-6355 (Rutland).


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