Telecare volunteers make daily phone calls, including weekends and holidays, to Telecare clients. The phone call is a way for individuals who live alone to stay connected on a daily basis and know that someone will follow up if they are unable to get to the phone.
Winona Health Volunteer David Forest has been involved with Telecare for about 20 years and is the current Telecare chairperson. Carole Pehler, now Carole Pehler-Forest, David’s wife, got David involved in Telecare when he moved to Winona in 1996. Carol remains active in Telecare, creating personalized birthday and holiday cards for the clients, and scheduling volunteers for the service.
“A Telecare client of more than 20 years recently passed away at the age of 100. She is the reason I continue to be involved in Telecare,” said David Forest. “This is an important service for many people who may not have family close who can check on them, and I enjoy helping them stay independent in their own homes.”
Telecare volunteers, under the direction of program co-chair, Lori Luby, host spring and fall parties featuring lunch and bingo to give clients and volunteers an opportunity to visit face-to-face.
“I’m so grateful to be home in my own apartment and have all you wonderful people calling. I appreciate your caring!” wrote one Telecare client. The Volunteers have notes that some clients have mentioned that it is the only call they get.
The free Telecare service is available to people of all ages who are disabled, elderly or live alone and would feel reassured by hearing a friendly voice calling to check in. Calls are made between 8 and 10 a.m. If a Telecare client cannot be reached on a scheduled day, the Telecare volunteer will contact the friend or relative the client has chosen as their contact person.
Telecare clients also can ask not to be called on specific days. For example, if the client is always with family on Sundays, they can ask not to be contacted Sundays, or if they know they will not be home for any reason, they simply let the volunteer know, and they will be taken off the call list for those dates.
Winona Health Volunteers have provided this service since 1973. Currently, nearly 25 volunteers participate in offering this service.
Telecare is available to anyone in the Winona Health service area. For more information or to sign up to receive this free service, please call the Winona Health volunteer office at 507.457.4342.