Additional Resources

Friendship And Assurance Programs

Marge, 76, lost her husband last year. Since then, she has become very lonely and is feeling isolated. Due to her diabetes, she cannot read her mail or write to her grandchildren. She is afraid that, in an emergency, she would not be able to see to make a phone call. Marge would like someone to talk to and somebody to help her stay in touch with her family, and help in emergency situations.

What is a “friendly visitor” program?

Friendly visitor programs can have other names, but their purpose is to provide regular visits to older persons who are lonely and need companionship. Friendly visitors stop in regularly and do what needs to be done, such as write a letter, run an errand, or just chat over a cup of coffee.

What are telephone reassurance and “phone pal” programs?

Many communities offer telephone reassurance programs in which a volunteer calls individuals each day to make sure everything is okay. If you want a phone pal to call you, or if you want to become a phone pal, contact us. If there is no reassurance program in your community, you may want to organize a “phone pal” program.

What is an emergency alert device?

Many local hospitals and agencies rent special emergency alert devices (sometimes called “personal emergency response” services). These devices can be easily activated by an individual if trouble occurs. Some devices are designed to be worn around the neck; others are designed to be placed at a fixed location in the home. When activated the device sends an emergency signal that calls for help. Emergency alert devices are helpful for persons with life threatening medical conditions and those who live alone.

What is a “gatekeeper” program?

Gatekeeper programs operate in some Kansas communities. Utility workers and postal employees are trained to watch and recognize signs that indicate an individual is ill or in trouble: an unmowed lawn, accumulated mail, etc., may be “tell-tale” signs. These workers and employees are provided phone numbers and people to contact for help if they observe a problem.

Where can I find more information about friendship and assurance programs?

Friendly visitor, telephone reassurance and phone pal programs are usually free. The emergency alert devices, such as “Lifeline,” have a one-time installation fee, plus a monthly charge. Medicaid may pay a portion of the monthly cost; the Senior Care Act may provide assistance in some Kansas counties. Contact us for more information.