telecare-webImagine that changes in your health have caused you or your family to be concerned about your ability to live independently. In the event of a worsening medical condition, one’s ability to stay in the home they’ve lived in for years can be compromised. If only there was a service that could check on you each day and ask, quite simply “Is everything OK?”

The Fort HealthCare Partners Organization offers such a service. The Partners extend the Tele-Care Program to all members of the community regardless of age or level of illness. Tele-Care is a free service that provides a daily phone contact for persons who live and might gain comfort from such a contact. Fort HealthCare volunteers call subscribers each Monday through Friday mornings between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.; weekends and holidays excluded.   If a Tele-Care subscriber can not be reached, a neighbor or relative is asked to check on the individual to make sure that they are well.

Recognizing that most people still have active lives regardless of age or illness, subscribers may choose an approximate time each day that they would like to be called. If an individual plans to be away from home, even for a day, they can simply tell the volunteer caller in advance. A voice mail message can be left with the volunteer callers if pre-arrangements for a planned absence have not been made.

Fort HealthCare Tele-Care program offers security, friendship for frail elderly

In addition to making sure the Tele-Care subscriber is well, the calls also provide a social connection for people who may not get a lot of phone calls or visitors. Reminiscing about the “good old days”, gardening, current events, and the weather are among the topics of conversations between the subscribers and volunteer callers. “Strong bonds of friendship are often formed between the volunteers and the Tele-Care subscribers”, said Kari Behling, manager of Fort HealthCare Volunteer Services.

But more importantly, the goals of the program are to safeguard the welfare of subscribers and provide peace of mind for their families. “In my twenty years of experience with the Tele-Care program several subscribers received emergency medical help because they had the service. If we don’t reach the subscriber we send help, and over the years we have found people that had fallen, people that had strokes, people that were disorientated for one reason or another, and people found still in bed that couldn’t get up because of weakness or chest pain”, she added.

On those occasions when a telephone is not answered as expected, Tele-Care volunteers call an alternative phone number provided during the enrollment process. This is typically a family member, but can also be a trusted neighbor. These individuals will be asked to come to the home if an emergency situation is suspected. Enrollment information also includes instructions on how to enter a home in the event of an emergency. The police may be asked to make entry if necessary.

Persons interested in subscribing for the free service should call or write to Fort HealthCare Volunteer Services and ask about Tele-Care. An application will be mailed and the service begins almost immediately upon receipt of the application by Volunteer Services. Please call 920-568-5276 for more information. The Volunteer office is always seeking individuals to help extend this valuable service to others. If you are interested in greeting others with a cheery “Good morning, this is Tele-Care calling”, please call the number above.