For isolated seniors who don’t get many visitors, a personal phone call can make all the difference in the world, and one nonprofit in California has dialed 1.6 million times.

For more than two decades, Eskaton, a nonprofit organization serving seniors for 50 years, has reached out to homebound elders via its Telephone Reassurance program.

It’s not just to check up on their health. Volunteers, with their daily dose of conversation, provide an opportunity to socialize.

Older people who are lonely are more likely to develop dementia than their more socially connected peers. In fact, loneliness produces physical effects that are among the most problematic in modern medicine, says Linda Whiteside, the Telephone Reassurance program manager.

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“Social connections formed between volunteers and the Telephone Reassurance participants go a long way to reduce health risks and bring peace of mind to seniors and their family members.”

To date, Eskaton volunteers have made more than 1.6 million phone calls.

Ben, a senior who benefits from the program, said, “I am so grateful that someone is calling me every day and checking on me. It lifts my spirits to know someone cares.” Another called it a “lifesaver.”

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The program, which is staffed by volunteers who have all passed a background check, is currently servicing the region of Sacramento.

Photo courtesy of Eskaton

If you know a local senior that would benefit, you can call 916-334-1072 or 866-ESKATON. Also get in touch, no matter your age, if you would like to be a volunteer.

They offer training, and place calls seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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Join the program, or start your own, to let someone know they are not alone.

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