The Day – Groton connects seniors to community through phone call

Groton – Twice a week Sarah Stanley makes a phone call to give someone a little push during their day and say, “Hey, I’m here. How are you ?

They talk about things they have in common and Sarah asks her about her day or what she was doing for Christmas to give her a friend to talk to.

It’s part of Call N Connect, a new program from the Groton Senior Center, in which people volunteer to make friendly calls to people who may be isolated, said Tomi Stanley, program supervisor at the center. The program aims to keep seniors connected to the community through phone calls.

Sarah said the program has given her the joy and satisfaction of knowing that she is helping someone and getting on with her day.

“It makes me really, really happy and when I hang up I say, ‘Oh, that was so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again,'” said Sarah, who is also Tomi’s mom.

The program aims to provide seniors, who may be concerned about COVID-19 or the cold and flu season, for example, an opportunity to socialize without leaving their homes, said Tomi Stanley.

“It will allow them to interact with someone,” she said. “It will give them the opportunity to be able to discuss and just share what is going on in their life and to have that connection with the outside world.”

She added that this is not only for people confined to the house, but could also help, for example, people who can go out during the week but feel lonely on the weekends. The program is aimed at the elderly, but there is no specific age requirement.

Groton Senior Center program supervisor Kathy Williams pointed out that some people may experience social anxiety as a result of the pandemic, and that the program is a way to help people start reconnecting with the community. They can have a conversation with a volunteer and also find out about the activities offered by the senior center, then decide that they want to join one of the smaller classes.

She said the senior center offers in-person classes and activities, but also virtual options, such as a yoga class run through Zoom, and sometimes classes, such as tai chi, are held at outdoors in good weather. The gym is open, the center serves lunch daily, and there are services, such as a dietician, hairdresser, and benefits consultant.

The Seniors Center is looking for volunteers and participants for the Call N Connect program.

Tomi said the schedule is flexible. Volunteers can call one person for about 15-20 minutes per week, or they can choose to call more people. Volunteers do not need to be residents of Groton, but a background check is required. The center for the elderly uses a computer system, provided by the Call center program, so that people can make the phone call from the senior center or from their home phone anonymously.

The Seniors Center will conduct short volunteer and participant evaluations to match like-minded people.

Those interested in volunteering or participating in the program, or who know someone who could benefit from the program, can contact Tomi Stanley at [email protected] or (860) 441-6782.

Upcoming events at the Senior Center include:

• Information session open on registration for health insurance at 11 am on December 1st.

• Annual Holiday Light Tour Decorating Contest, in which people decorate their homes and enter it to be on the Light Tour card. People should send the address of the decorated house to Groton to [email protected] by noon on Wednesday, Nov. 24, and should have the house decorated by Dec. 7 and through Dec. 31, according to the center. for the elderly. The announcement of the best decorated house will be made by January 4. A bus tour of the houses will take place at 4:30 p.m. on December 10.

• OATS (Outdoor Active Traveling Seniors for age 55+) hike at Copp Family Park at 1 pm on December 13.

• An Alzheimer’s support group for caregivers, through the American Alzheimer’s Association, will be held on the second Monday of each month, with the next meeting at 10 am on December 13.

People can register for the events by calling the center at (860) 441-6785.

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