Caller Reassurance Program Volunteer Stories
I have been a Distress Centres' lay 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.
Another 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.
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.
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.
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.