Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A check-in program connects Central PA seniors who are feeling isolated or lonely with volunteers

FILE - People over 60 in a nine-county region in Central Pennsylvania will be able to sign up to get phone calls from a PA Link volunteer.
Damian Dovarganes
A new program is hoping to connect isolated seniors with local volunteers or other seniors to have a friendly chat whenever they need it.

The PA Link Check-In Line connects a senior with a volunteer or another senior for a friendly conversation whenever they need one.

The program developed by the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources is hoping to help local seniors who are feeling isolated or lonely this winter.

Melissa Bottorf is the PA Lead Link Coordinator for a nine-county region of central Pennsylvania. She said the program was designed to be an informal chat for seniors.

“Our goal is to keep it light, to keep it informal, and just not have it too structured, so that it’s a call, ya know, whenever they’re thinking about the other person,” Bottorf said.

She said they started the program during COVID but are continuing it even though grant funding has ended.

Anyone over the age of 60 who lives in the counties involved — including Centre, Clinton, and Lycoming — can register. Once they do, they will receive a free check-in phone call from either a local volunteer or a peer senior.

“For us it's about building the relationship," Bottorf said. "And we know that you’re going to look forward to that phone call and you're going to look forward to having the relationship.”

Anyone age 18 and older can register to volunteer with the program. They’ll match volunteers to seniors based on geography, interest and other details.

If you are interested in learning more or want to register or volunteer, you can visit the PA Link website or call 570-428-3521.

Casey Zanowic is a WPSU radio news intern for fall 2022.