Informing and engaging area residents


ROSSS helps brighten Holidays for lonely seniors

From the Manotick Messenger

While many are excited for Christmas, it can be a very lonely time for some. Seniors who are widowed, estranged from their families or simply isolated can find Christmas stressful, sad, lonely and overwhelming all at the same time.

According to Statistics Canada, as many as 1.4 million elderly Canadians report feeling lonely. The growing epidemic of loneliness and isolation among seniors is especially difficult for elderly Canadians during the holiday season.  According to Kelly Dumas, Executive Director of Rural Ottawa South Support Services, “The holiday season can often be a time of great loneliness and sadness for the seniors who ROSSS supports in rural Ottawa south.  Many must face the holidays with loss and grief. The loss of a spouse, friends, independence and family who live away can all factor into the difficulties faced by many seniors during the holidays.” 

Rural Ottawa South Support Services, with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, created A Friendly Voice, a telephone line for seniors, to support individuals who are lonely and isolated.  Dumas is very pleased to see the positive impact that this innovative program is having. 

“As we approach our one year anniversary, it is amazing to see the impact that we are having on the lives of lonely seniors.  We have received thousands of calls in our first year.  Some seniors will call us multiple times a day!”

 A Friendly Voice began last December and is now receiving calls from seniors across Ontario.  Dumas hopes that as many people as possible will spread the word about A Friendly Voice – especially if they know someone who would benefit from calling the phone line during the holidays.  Seniors in Ontario can call the toll free number 1-855-892-9992 any time from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. to speak with A friendly Voice.