Poulsbo program to provide phone calls to lonely, isolated seniors

The city of Poulsbo is moving forward on an agreement with Sound Self, PLLC to provide training for volunteers of the Senior CARES program, which will offer weekly phone calls to older area residents who are struggling with loneliness and isolation.

In the fall, Housing Health and Human Services worked with city staff at Parks & Recreation, the Poulsbo Fire CARES team, police, Fishline and a group of volunteers to design such a program, documents read. The program, Senior CARES, will provide weekly phone calls to 30-50 Poulsbo area residents. Referrals to the program will be made by Poulsbo Fire CARES and/or a geriatric specialist connected to the program.

Training will take the form of a 2-hour module and will include communication skills, the importance of boundaries and expectation setting during calls, how to identify signs of behavioral health issues and distress, and resources for older adults available in our area. Volunteers need to be age 21 or older.

“This is a program we’re really designing to be available to just about anyone,” HHH director Kim Hendrickson said. “We are looking for volunteers that are just interested in having friendly phone conversations with seniors in the greater Poulsbo community. There’s no expertise that’s expected, there’s no sophisticated test you have to pass.”

The total cost of this contract with not exceed $2,000 and funds from the legal reserve will be used for this expense. The item will be placed on the consent agenda for approval at the Dec. 14 city council meeting.