House Calls program volunteers needed

Posted Oct. 07, 2011, at 8:18 p.m.

The Lincoln County TRIAD and Spectrum Generations is offering a new program, House Calls. Senior citizens or adults with disabilities who live in Lincoln County can receive regularly scheduled well-being checks by telephone from a trained volunteer. The purpose of the program is to provide a trustworthy and well-regulated personal support system for those who require occasional assistance in living independently at home. The program is free.

Those who want to volunteer for the program as a caller are encouraged to contact Spectrum Generations. Volunteers are an essential part of the program. For the sake of convenience, the well-being telephone checks can be made directly from the volunteer’s home phone or cellphone to the home phone of the client. Traveling is not necessary. It should take the volunteer no more than 10 minutes per call to ascertain how the client is doing and to identify any specific needs. These are not social calls. Volunteers are not expected to act as advisers or therapists. The well-being checks typically occur two or at most three times a week at predetermined and mutually convenient times.

For the safety of clients, prospective volunteers must submit to a background security check before they can participate in the program. The background check consists of the applicant’s name being run through a national police database to check for any criminal record since age 18. Spectrum Generations will process the background check, as well as cover all associated costs. The volunteer need only sign a form authorizing Spectrum Generations to run the background check. The check takes a few weeks to complete.

After the background check, volunteers will take a short two-hour training session to learn techniques and strategies for improving communication skills over the telephone The training session will be conducted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Spectrum Generations. Volunteers will inform Spectrum Generations of anything significant that came to their attention, emergency or nonemergency. Spectrum Generations would follow through by alerting the appropriate officials.

Phone calls from town to town within the Lincoln County often are long-distance calls. Volunteers will be asked to call only clients within their local calling area. For this to work, the program needs volunteers from throughout Lincoln County.

For more information or to receive the service, contact Cynthia Troxel at Spectrum Generations Coastal Community Center, 521 Main St. in Damariscotta at 563-1363 or ctroxel@specrumgenerations.org.

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