Manotick Messenger — Sometimes, the only thing needed to take loneliness away from a senior is a friendly voice.
And that’s exactly what local seniors in South Carleton now have.
Earlier this month, Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS) welcomed special guests and members of the public to the official launch of ‘A Friendly Voice’, a friendly visiting telephone service designed to reduce loneliness for seniors.
A Friendly Voice is a volunteer-powered friendly visiting phone line for seniors. The service will be available in 2018 in Ottawa, then in Eastern Ontario in 2019 and Northern Ontario in 2020. The service is designed to engage seniors and empower them to connect with their community, and will help seniors avoid the health risks associated with loneliness.
Carleton Conservative MPP Goldie Ghamari and Norma Lamont, an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) volunteer, were on hand to congratulate the Board of Directors, staff and supporters on the work that’s now well underway since receiving a $750,000 province-wide grant from OTF in 2017. Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre and Rideau Goulbourn Councillor Scott Moffatt were also in attendance. One of the purposes of the event was to witness the program’s inaugural phone call.
“Investing in local community-based organizations has a direct positive impact on seniors in Carleton and across Ottawa,” Ghamari said. “Specifically, Rural Ottawa South Support Services provides seniors in rural south Ottawa with transportation, personal care and home support. I applaud ROSSS for their new initiative, A Friendly Voice. Their volunteers will welcome phone calls from seniors and spend time visiting. This will help reassure seniors that they are not alone, alleviate loneliness and provide them with a much-needed connection to the community. I commend the Ontario Trillium Foundation for recognizing ROSSS’ commitment to our community through this grant.”
Loneliness in seniors is a known health risk equated to smoking, obesity and alcoholism. Supporting and empowering seniors to engage with others in their community is a remedy. A simple conversation with an empathetic participant can be a pivotal first step. Thanks to the three-year OTF grant awarded earlier this year, seniors in Eastern and Northern Ontario will have 24-hour access to trained, volunteers who can provide compassionate conversation and information about resources in the community the seniors live in.
“The grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation will help many Ontario seniors who find themselves feeling isolated and lonely,” said John Collins, Chair of the ROSSS Board of Directors. “At ROSSS we recognize the serious health risks associated with social isolation and loneliness in seniors. We know that A Friendly Voice will help mitigate these risks and empower seniors to stay connected to their community.” –
This initiative was inspired by ‘The Silver Line’ in the United Kingdom, which has logged more than two million phone calls in its five years of operation.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.
The phone number serving Manotick, Richmond, North Gower and Kars is 613-692-4697, while the Osgoode and Metcalfe number is 613-821-1101.
Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS) is a charity in rural Ottawa who has provided programs and services for seniors for more than 30 years. For more information, please visit afriendlyvoice.ca or rosss.ca or both Facebook pages.