Phone Pal Program

Program
Location
Edmonton
Type of Program
Education, Recreation, & Arts
Social Connectedness
Volunteer Management

Ongoing Free Connect with representatives from Strathcona Place Society for conversation and compassion. The Phone Pal Program links seniors with youthful volunteers and like-minded peers who can lift their spirits, build resiliency and strengthen their ability to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. The phone calls also provide an outlet through which seniors can share concerns or issues which, depending on severity, may be referred to the Outreach Department for resolution.

Video capture Phone Pal program

Who are Phone Pal volunteers?

Phone Pal volunteers are members of the community who enjoy interacting with seniors and who have undergone training to identify issues that may be negatively affecting seniors. This training is a crucial component of the established referral pathways for additional social support.

How does the Phone Pal programme work?

Volunteers are screened (police check), trained, and surveyed to identify interests. Seniors in the programme are also surveyed to determine their interests. 

Volunteers and seniors are matched based on shared interests, cultural background, and language. Matches have also been accommodated based on other preferences, such as age. Strathcona Place Society tries its best to accommodate the unique needs of each client. We have found that commonalities improve the flow, depth, and frequency of conversations. 

What is it like to talk to a Phone Pal volunteer?
The first conversation is scripted. The volunteers tell the seniors who they are and their affiliation with Strathcona Place Society. The volunteer will then proceed to ask the senior about their recreational pursuits, at which time, commonalities will be established, thereby forming the basis for ongoing contact.
As the relationship progresses, seniors become more open to sharing issues negatively affecting them such as the inability to cope with the loss of a loved one, food insecurity, housing needs, family disagreements, injuries sustained, etc. Should something stand out in a conversation with a senior, the volunteer notes this in their weekly report, and the case referred to the Strathcona Place Outreach Team (SPOT) for follow-up. 

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