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Check In and Chat: Caroline's Story

Published on 31 August 2022 11:00 PM

Caroline contracted Covid-19 in March 2020 and has suffered from Long Covid ever since. As a result, she has been largely housebound over the last two years.

Caroline lives alone and has been receiving a weekly friendship call from one of our Check in and Chat volunteers since November 2020. She spoke to us recently about the difference our telephone service has made to her life:

“I live on my own with my two dogs, Phoebe and Pixie. Over the last two years my life has changed dramatically due to the pandemic and if it hadn’t been for my two dogs and the wonderful calls I’ve been getting every week I really would have been very lonely and very despondent.

Before I got Covid I was very active, I used to walk nearly three miles every day, but I just don’t have the energy now. Due to medical reasons I wasn’t able to get the vaccine, so that also makes me quite nervous about going out and I really only leave the house to get my groceries.

When I first got in touch with Age NI about their Check in and Chat service I was feeling really low and very lonely. Thankfully, I was matched with a wonderful volunteer called Sinead, and they really couldn’t have picked a better person for me.

Sinead rings me every Tuesday evening and we’ve spoken nearly every week since we got matched back in November 2020. She has such a great sense of humour and despite our age difference we have a similar outlook on life. She’s absolutely brilliant, and I feel like I’ve known her my whole life!

It has made such a difference having someone to chat to every week, I can not put into words how much I’m benefitting from Sinead’s calls. She gives me a connection to the outside world and she makes me feel like I am not completely alone, it’s a huge comfort.”

For Sinead, volunteering for Age NI’s Check in and Chat service has given her the opportunity to do something meaningful for someone in need:

“I’ve got even more out of volunteering that I expected to. I really look forward to my calls with Caroline every Tuesday evening. We talk about all sorts of things, we really just put the world to rights. It’s always lovely and casual and we make each other laugh.

Being able to volunteer for a telephone service has been really fantastic. I don’t live close to Caroline, so I wouldn’t have been able to get to know her if it hadn’t been for the Check in and Chat service. As life gets busier, I know that I can set aside that hour every week without having to worry about travel time or anything like that. It’s very convenient and we’re both getting so much out of it.

Age NI is a great charity, doing fantastic work to help people cope with loneliness and isolation. Even though life is returning to normal for some of us, that’s not the case for everyone. A service like this is still so important for people like Caroline who are more at risk from Covid, or those who are still not comfortable with being out and about.

Volunteering for Age NI has been such a valuable experience, I’ve gotten to know Caroline and I love hearing about her life. We have a connection now that means a lot to both of us.”

Read more from Sinead here.

Last year our Check in and Chat service supported 509 people with the support of 438 volunteers, who made an amazing 6,984 calls.

A donation to Age NI can help us be there for older people who are lonely and isolated. If you can, please donate today.





Last updated: Jul 04 2023

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