TeleCheck celebrates 10 years of calls to homebound seniors

Telecheck Team

At age 91, Shirley stands out with the pastel purple streaks in her white hair and way she emanates joy, especially over the phone.
As one of the four inaugural members of Call2Talk's TeleCheck team—and even known as its "mascot"—Shirley is proud to be "just a friendly voice" when she calls up a fellow senior to ask how their day is going. The team, made up entirely of older volunteers like her, checks in weekly with about 65 of their peers who are seen by Call2Talk's partner agencies Springwell and Advocates Inc. as needing support. They'll prompt conversations about anything from the weather to the person's wellbeing, and it starts to flow more naturally over time.

In 10 years of calls, volunteers have provided companionship and meaningful connection for hundreds of MetroWest residents who may be lonely, homebound, having medical problems or even feeling suicidal. Topics of discussion range from politics to Sox scores to TV shows to the struggles with getting old.
"Some of them have no one else to talk to from one end of the week to another," said Tom, 86, a TeleCheck team member who values the relationships he's made over the line.
The TeleCheck service, part of Mass211's Call2Talk program, has grown from four volunteers to eight, who make about 400 calls a month. 
"The seniors who our volunteers call love speaking with them and look forward to their conversations," said Eileen Davis, vice president of Mass211 and director of Call2Talk.
One volunteer, Eddie, recalls all the connections he's made over the years. One guy he talked to was in his 90s, lived alone and liked to just shoot the breeze. 
"He lived for these calls," Eddie said. "We'd talk about the Red Sox, or whatever."
Peggy, who, like Eddie, has been a TeleCheck team member from the beginning, recalls happy times like attending the 100th birthday party of a client.
The volunteers say making calls is rewarding, since they too are getting on in age.
"It gives you a purpose, and who wouldn't want a purpose of meeting—on the phone—nice people? It's just pleasant," Shirley said.
From the United Way of Tri-County and Mass211’s Call2Talk, thank you to the incredibly dedicated volunteers who make up the TeleCheck team. Happy 10-year anniversary!