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Unique service proving the power of a call can brighten a senior’s day

Sometimes there is no replacement for a phone conversation

In the era of emails, text messages and DMs, the simple phone call seems like a forgotten art form. Some prefer the passive form of communication, but for many seniors, there’s no substitute for a conversation on the phone.

An Orillia-based call service aims to bring back the art of the phone conversation, especially for older generations who may not have much social interaction throughout their day.

“Call Maggie” offers a lifeline to those on the other end: companionship.

CarolAnn Maher is the founder, who came up with the idea after hearing from many seniors about how lonely they felt during the isolation period during the pandemic.

“Being retired myself, you have your ear open more to what’s happening to the senior population,” Maher said. “I just heard that there were so many of them in their rooms without even a TV during the period. I thought: ‘What kind of life is that?’”

Maher set out to change that by creating “Call Maggie.”

For a monthly rate, she will call your family member or loved one for a bi-weekly, weekly, or up to a daily phone call for some light-hearted conversation. The topics can range from current events, to family, and favourite TV shows.

Some of her clients prefer a quick call, while others chat for a little longer, but they all appreciate the much-needed social interaction. Call Maggie isn’t only for seniors, it’s open to anyone from shut-ins to people with disabilities.

For some folks, it’s easier to email or send a text, but those with older family members understand some seniors prefer not to communicate through messages or email. Instead, a phone call is the preferred method of catching up.

“People say: send me a text, send me an email, but people in the older age bracket, most of them are not technically savvy and they don’t want to be bothered with that at all. So, the phone call is still important to them.”

After an initial consultation, Call Maggie’s phone operator will fill out a profile for an individual; their likes, dislikes, preferred topics of conversation, and other factors like health history where applicable. From there, Call Maggie checks in however often the client would like for a chat on the phone.

As a retiree herself, Maher understands how vital basic communication can be for someone’s well-being. With every conversation, she’s honoured to show how the power of a phone call can change someone’s day for the better.

“I think people saying: ‘I’m glad you called’, or ‘nice to hear from you.’ That’s the purpose of it. Just to give people the contact, the voice on the phone. It makes people happy. It may sound corny, but it really does. I think seniors have really been affected by COVID, and this helps.”

To register a family member, friend, or even yourself for the Call Maggie service, find out more on their website.