Seniors’ Centre Without Walls: Connecting Isolated Seniors by Phone

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Caroline Morin, CEO

Project Title: Seniors’ Centre Without Walls - Connecting Isolated Seniors Through Conference Call Technology

What is the issue?

Social connections are essential for well-being and survival. However, many seniors live in isolated areas. Loneliness and isolation can lead to anxiety, depression, decreased mobility, and cognitive decline.

What did we do?

We created a program called the Seniors’ Centre Without Walls. It connected socially isolated and home-bound seniors with low-cost conference calling technology. The phone calls provided seniors with opportunities to access health and wellness information and connect with peers and healthcare professionals. During the calls, presenters shared brain and physical activities and guided conversations. In total, we delivered 20 to 25 activities to 31 seniors each month. For our pilot project, we developed a toolkit for selecting topics, educating partners, and promoting the program.

What did we find?

The program helped isolated seniors feel like they belonged to a community and encouraged them to be more socially and physically active. They enjoyed the program and liked the conference call format. More than half said they no longer felt lonely, and almost all continued to participate. Many seniors learned about services they had not known about before. They most enjoyed history, health and wellness, and good news stories. The best times for the calls were 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.