In today’s episode, we meet Laura Steuer, founder of Friendly Voices Senior Phone Buddy Program.
After a month in isolation due to the pandemic, Laura was inspired to create a phone outreach program for Seniors.
She points out that many nursing home residents have no friends or family, or have loved ones too far away to visit, so phone buddies are very important links for them to the outside world.
She explains that loneliness is linked to depression, heart disease, obesity, and other mental and physical health issues, and can actually be fatal.
Knowing that they will receive a phone call from someone who cares is really crucial for many seniors’ health and well-being, and can literally keep someone alive.
Research shows that talking is crucial to brain development, mental health, and well-being.
Talking has been shown to feed and enhance the working, short term memory, which is the first type to decline in Seniors. Improvement of the working memory will, in turn, feed the long-term memory and overall health.
Phone buddies are trained, empathic, passionate volunteers of all ages who are connected to a senior to call once or twice a week for at least half an hour.
It has also been shown that listening helps build empathy and talking helps to improve our mood so the benefits are reciprocal to both parties.
Friendly Voices also provides prepaid phones with unlimited minutes to all phone buddies who request them.