TeleCare’s holiday cheer eases loneliness for seniors

TeleCare’s holiday cheer eases loneliness for seniors

TeleCare’s holiday cheer eases loneliness for seniors
Rose Metowski and Honora Gretak chat about the TeleCare program at the annual holiday luncheon.

CONCORD, CA (Dec. 10, 2023) — The annual Christmas gathering of the Assistance League’s TeleCare volunteers and the seniors to whom they make regular reassuring phone calls is a further escape from the loneliness felt even more acutely during the holiday season.

The party, happening for more than 25 years, provides an important opportunity to put faces with the voices of volunteers who took time to make the 5,300 calls representing 4,186 volunteer hours to visit with 20 homebound clients during the past fiscal year.

Concord resident Rose Metowski joined the TeleCare program about five years ago after being referred by a friend. She looks forward to the annual holiday luncheon, which features entertainment and gifts of clay pots with succulents.

“It’s a nice touch,” she said. “It might be the only Christmas festivity you get to celebrate.”

Metowski, who was living by herself at the time, had heard stories of other seniors who experienced falls and thought TeleCare would be a worthwhile activity. While now living in assisted living, she still appreciates the daily calls.

“I look forward to hearing from them every day. It is very reassuring,” Metowski said.

As one gets on in life, she noted, “you do feel alone” – especially as in her case where she didn’t have children. So, TeleCare is a connection to the outside world.

“It’s like a security blanket,” Metowski continued. “For a few minutes, you feel someone cares and you are not alone.”

Shared joy

Volunteers contacted expressed getting as much joy from making the daily tele check-ins as those who are on the other end of the line receiving calls.

As one member of the calling team offered, the seniors they call are fonts of wisdom for all that have seen and experienced.

“You treat them with respect and love, and it always comes back to you.”

Honora Greytak, a long time TeleCare member, said the whole point of the holiday party is “getting to have face to face visits with them after just visiting on the phone all year.”“It is nice to give them attention and talk with them,” she added, noting many don’t have siblings or children to look after them or call them.

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David Scholz
David Scholz

David Scholz is back in journalism as a freelance writer and photographer after nearly two decades in education. Prior to moving into teaching in 2000, he worked as a full-time journalist since 1988 for rural community and small daily newspapers in Central Ohio and Northern Nevada, and later in California with The Business Journal in Fresno and dailies in the Bay Area, including The Oakland Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle. More recently Scholz also worked in an editing, writing, and page layout role with the Rossmoor News.