Phone reassurance programs serve to assist older adults in Lake County

Nov. 5—Two programs for older adults in Lake County launched earlier this year by Lifeline, Inc. and the Lake County commissioners continue to serve in providing security and promoting social connection, officials recently announced.

The initiatives, "Are You OK" and "Phone Pal," are additionally designed to "address loneliness and enable older adults to remain independent at home."

Phone Pal works to match volunteers with older adults who may experience isolation or are looking for a "pal" to chat with twice a week.

Officials noted the program "works hard" to make sure participants and volunteers are matched based on similar interests.

Commissioner John Hamercheck said the program's core of volunteers, and the quality of matching, has made the venture a success.

"Participants know their volunteer will be checking in on them regularly and if there are any concerns or unanswered calls, the volunteers are diligent about following up with staff," he added.

The program uses a software system that allows approved matches to communicate through a special phone line, eliminating the need to exchange numbers or report volunteer data.

To learn more about Phone Pal, call 440-350-2020.

Similarly, Are You OK safety assurance program participants enroll to receive a daily automated monitoring call designed to "ease the concerns of friends and families may have for their loved ones' safety.

If a daily call is not answered after three attempts, an alert is sent to Lifeline's 2-1-1, where staffers reach out to emergency contacts and, if necessary, local law enforcement for a well-check visit.

"Our senior population is growing rapidly and we feel a strong commitment to helping ensure their health, well-being, and safety, so we are excited to expand senior services programming and partner with the county on these important programs," said Lifeline Executive Director Carrie Dotson.

To learn more about Are You OK, call Andrea Johnson at 440-354-2148, ext. 207.

"Research shows programs like Phone Pal and Are You OK have significant positive impacts on depression, and anxiety," said Commissioner John Plecnik. "We are glad we can help facilitate these programs in Lake County."

Participants for both programs must be Lake County residents and aged 60 or older, officials noted.

There is no cost to participate in either program.

"Both of these programs are great examples of how we're working with local agencies to meet the needs of older adults," said Commissioner Richard Regovich, "and we hope to continue creating (additional) partnerships and programming."