The Council on Aging serves as the place seniors in Central Oregon can turn to for the support and services they need to stay fed, safe, and connected.

A retired physician, Alan Hillis, was one of the first volunteers to join the Caring Connections program. Alan is matched with Ed, a senior who signed up to have a weekly chat with a volunteer.

“Our first call was more than six months ago. Ed is single hadn’t talked to anyone in months. We spent our time discussing Ed’s life adventures. But it became obvious he was very independent, especially when asking for help. The first problem I became aware of was that his well dried up in the rural area where he lives,” explains Alan.   

“It also became apparent that Ed’s health was problematic. His medical care was 50 miles away, and he couldn’t always rely on his late-model pickup to get to the doctor. After exploring options, we transferred his care to a clinic within 15 miles of his home, where he was diagnosed with colon cancer. As a retired physician, I’m able to talk with his medical care team and act as Ed’s medical advocate.”

Alan Hillis, Caring Connections Volunteer

Without the Council on Aging Caring Connections program, no one would have known that Ed lived without running water and poor access to healthcare. 

Other Caring Connections participants like Joseph appreciate the camaraderie.

“My Caring Connections volunteer calls me each week. He is conscientious and has never once missed calling me! I’m grateful to the Council on Aging for having this program. My Caring Connections buddy has helped a great deal in alleviating the loneliness that I feel.”

Joseph, Caring Connections participant

Interested in joining our Caring Connections program, or know a senior who would like to talk with a volunteer every week? Call us at 541-797-9138 or email at

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