Our Caller Reassurance for Seniors Program works to improve the emotional quality of life of vulnerable, aged citizens in our community while empowering them to remain engaged in the community and continue to live independent lives. Highly-trained volunteer responders provide regularly scheduled and personalized call-outs to elderly program participants.

Each Caller Reassurance for Seniors Program call-out is tailored to meet the elderly program participant’s needs. We use a case-management approach which includes discussions that range from medical appointment & medication reminders to safety checks to developing a long-term coping plans.

PROGRAM HISTORY

The Caller Reassurance for Seniors Program pilot was developed from comprehensive research into caller data reports. From the tens of thousands of calls placed in 2007 to Distress Centres, nearly half were from regular callers, specifically from senior callers. The agency invited this cohort of callers to participate in a small-scale pilot of this new, dedicated service - the Caller Reassurance Program for Seniors.

Findings from the pilot demonstrated that the service had been essential in helping senior callers continue to live independently in the community and in preventing the downward spiral that can lead to premature and/or unnecessary institutionalization or death by suicide.

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The Caller Reassurance Program is about empowering participants as much as possible to be productive in ways that are meaningful for them and leave them feeling less isolated and fearful, if only for a while. Everyone deserves to have people who care about them, as well as encourage them to reach meaningful goals and live up to their full potential. For some of our callers, the unconditional caring and encouragement that Caller Reassurance volunteers provide is the only emotional support they receive all day.
— Caller Reassurance Volunteer Responder
I have been a Distress Centres’ responder for two years and a part of the Caller Reassurance Program since I started. I have seen improvement in so many Caller Reassurance callers since I began. One lady that I regularly support deals with anxiety, and for the most part she has learned to manage it. When I do get in touch with her, it is always “great timing,” when I can listen to what is going on, and together we de-escalate her anxiety.
— Caller Reassurance Volunteer Responder
A participant I feel has experienced profound change due to our continued care and support was diagnosed with a chronic condition many years ago and had been left feeling very isolated. She needed a lot of call-outs to help her find relief from chronic pain and physical discomfort. She has benefitted from our service in that she now feels less alone and genuinely cared about.
— Caller Reassurance Volunteer Responder
We want our service users to feel as though they are accepted for who they are, supported no matter what their circumstances are, and very importantly, understood and respected as individuals. I am glad to be an integral part of the Caller Reassurance Program for Seniors’ team as it grows and hope to see even more ways of helping our callers in the future, like hands-on approaches, third-party call-ins for special issues and even more advanced case management.
— Caller Reassurance Volunteer Responder
Each week, I really look forward to talking to a woman who suffers from extreme anxiety and is easily upset. She is learning to face her fears, organize her day and complete whatever tasks she starts. Her dream is to get on a bus and go anywhere she chooses on her own someday, but right now it’s hard for her to find the courage to even walk out her front door. Our conversations usually begin with her needing to vent about something that is bothering her. Sometimes, she works on a task when we are on the phone, and she always thinks of something she will do when our conversation ends. She does most of the talking, and all she needs from me is a few words of validation and encouragement.
— Caller Reassurance Volunteer Responder
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BECOME A VOLUNTEER RESPONDER

If you have ever wanted to contribute to the community in a meaningful way, volunteering at Distress Centres has a wealth of opportunities.

Under the supervision of professional staff, all volunteers are carefully screened and fully trained prior to taking calls or working with callers, program participants or survivors of loss.

Volunteers also receive ongoing professional support and in-service education sessions.

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Community Outreach

Distress Centres leadership and volunteers have a wealth of knowledge and in-depth personal stories that provide insights which are relevant on a variety of mental health, risk and crisis support, suicide prevention/postvention topics. 

Our team offers information, skills training, speakers and consultation on request. We provide information packages and custom workshops.

On-site facilitation is also available to agencies, residents and other groups.

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Please note that due to the demand for service in this program there may be a waiting list.  Please check into know current availability.

For more information on this program's services please connect with callerreassurance@torontodistresscentre.com

For donation or funding information with regards to this program please connect with donations@torontodistresscentre.com