Thank you for sharing your friendship
The warmth of your caring phone calls or visits will bring joy and encouragement to your new friend. Thank you for volunteering with us!
Tips for success:
Keep in mind your new friend may not answer the phone immediately the first time you call. It is OK to leave a message letting them know who you are and that you will call again.
- Let them know you are associated with Friends & Co, formerly Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly.
- Diminished hearing may be an issue, so you may need to speak more clearly, slowly, and louder.
- If your friend has an e-mail, ask if they would enjoy staying in touch there as well.
- Let them know you will contact them regularly, and find a time of day that suits you both. They will appreciate looking forward to hearing from you. If your friend is comfortable using technology, you can explore other platforms, such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.
- If you have questions or would like to discuss a concern, please reach out to your Team Leader.
- If you ever have concerns about your friend’s treatment or well-being, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Team Lead. In an emergency, always call 911.
- Please practice good self-care and healthy boundaries.
Tips for caring conversations with your new friend.
- Ask open-ended questions
- Express interest in and curiosity about their life and history and be open to sharing your own
- Listen attentively
- Family history/Ethnic roots
- Childhood stories
- Memorable holidays and vacations
- Best jobs, first jobs
- Personal milestones/ Major life events
- Longtime friends
- Hobbies or pastimes
- Personal fun facts
- Favorite musicians, artists, writers, movies, TV shows
- Favorite historical figure
- Current events
- Celebrity news
- Favorite movie stars
- Memorable gifts
What if my new friend does not answer or does return my calls?
- Make sure to let the phone ring multiple times. People with mobility issues may take longer to get to the phone.
- Leave a message identifying yourself as a Phone Companion with Friends & Co, formerly Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly. Say that you will call again. If possible, leave the day, and approximate time you will call back.
- Try calling at different times of the day and different days of the week.
- If after several tries you are still unable to reach them, contact your Team Leader.
My friend said they are fine and don’t want me to call them. What should I do?
- Share that you are calling as a friend and want to chat a little. Let them know it will be good for both of you to connect! Let them know you are happy they are doing well.
- Let them know you would like to call back next week and check in.
- Ask them if they would like to chat about something specific that interests them—hobbies, books, movies, etc.
Can I give my friend my phone number?
- This is totally up to you. Because some people have difficulty understanding boundaries around phone contact, we recommend volunteers hold off providing contact information until they are sure they are comfortable with it.
Additional training opportunities
- NAMI Minnesota: NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. Stay in Touch Video, Physical Activity, and Mindfulness Video and Depression in Older Adults Fact Sheet
- Minnesota Gerontological Society Understanding Trauma in African American Communities video
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Loneliness Risks for Older Adults audio