Calling Program Connects Seniors and Volunteers to Reduce Loneliness and Isolation

Bend, Ore., June 30, 2021 –The Council on Aging of Central Oregon today announced that its Caring Connections program was featured in a segment on Oregon Public Broadcast’s (OPB) Think Out Loud daily show. With the Council on Aging Caring Connections service, volunteers provide companionship and social contact to older adults in the tri-county through weekly phone calls.

In recent years, the U.S. government has begun to explore the effects of senior isolation and loneliness. Research finds that loneliness is a growing epidemic with higher health risks than obesity and as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Research also shows, even though technology enables us to be one-click or call away from connecting with a loved one, that as a society, we are lonelier than ever.

“Many seniors in our community are isolated and lonely,” said Susan Rotella, executive director of the Council on Aging. “Senior isolation can have devastating effects physically, emotionally, and mentally and we decided, in the midst of COVID-19 and all its restrictions, to start the Caring Connections program to better support the growing number of isolated seniors in Central Oregon.”

Our Caring Connections program matches volunteers with seniors who would appreciate a weekly phone call and camaraderie. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, discover common interests, or just be there for an older adult that may be struggling with social isolation, especially during the past 16 months of restrictions due to COVID-19.

If you’re a senior interested in joining the Council on Aging’s Caring Connections program, becoming a volunteer, or know an older adult who would be a good fit for connecting with a volunteer weekly, call (541) 678-5483.

For updates and news about services and resources for older adults in Central Oregon, visit the Council on Aging website at or follow the Council on Aging’s Facebook page at


About the Council on Aging

Since 1975, the Council on Aging has served as the designated Area Agency on Aging for Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties, offering adults aged 60 and older and their loved ones a range of support services. A non-profit organization, the Council on Aging advocates for, empowers and guides older adults and their loved ones to live with independence and well-being in age-friendly communities—places where infrastructure, policies and practices are developed to make the community livable, accessible and responsive to the needs of people of all ages, especially older adults.

Phone: (541) 678-5483

Media Contact
Denise LaBuda
Director of Communications
Council on Aging of Central Oregon
(541) 678-5483