Greater Victoria resident Josie Gair, right, created a calling list for seniors so they can have some friendly conversation during these isolating times. (Photo contributed by Josie Gair)

Greater Victoria resident Josie Gair, right, created a calling list for seniors so they can have some friendly conversation during these isolating times. (Photo contributed by Josie Gair)

Greater Victoria woman creates ‘call list’ for seniors to tackle loneliness

Call list allows seniors to have some friendly conversation during isolating times

A Greater Victoria woman is aiming to tackle loneliness in the region, one phone call at a time.

Josie Gair, a teacher by trade, has set up call list for seniors, so they can have some friendly conversation during these isolating times.

“So many people in care homes are really losing out on community right now, so I think this is an important bridge for people to be social while in the safety of their own houses,” said Gair. “I can’t imagine sitting in my room worrying, not visiting and feeling scared I might catch a virus.”

The idea for creating the Seniors Friendly Call List also sparked for Gair because of her own grandmother. Gair has felt how lonely it is in isolation lately, and thought, “Wow I really need to give my grandma a call.”

This made her realize how many seniors must be feeling incredibly isolated at this time, and then decided to take action.

“I saw a group of people who have an excess of time because of the pandemic, and another group who are just sitting feeling so lonely, and I connected the dots,” said Gair. “Then we just put a post up on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested, and the response was overwhelming.”

ALSO READ: B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

Gair has since made a list of about 170 volunteers, and shared it with numerous care homes around the Island.

“I kind of leave it in the hands of the care homes so they can decide if they wish to participate or not,” said Gair.

“This also helps protect the seniors because the care homes can make sure the seniors who are making the calls have enough awareness to hang up if things aren’t going well.”

The call list includes a name, number, availability and a small bio about the volunteer so seniors can see a little bit about that person before they call, and more easily choose who they would like to talk to.

Unfortunately there isn’t a way for Gair to monitor and get criminal checks for all the volunteers who sign up, so she wants to remind seniors never to give their personal details away over the phone, and to hang up the moment they feel uncomfortable.

“This is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, so the second it isn’t, hang up,” said Gair, adding that seniors can also block their caller ID number before calling, to help enhance their safety. Information on how to block caller ID can be found at the top of the caller list.

If all goes well, Gair hopes the calling list could continue even after the pandemic is over.

“I think this will benefit both those who want to help out, and those who are in need of a little support,” said Gair. “It’s amazing how eager people are to help, and hopefully some beautiful friendships bloom from this.”

Seniors not living in a care home can also access the calling list by contacting Gair directly. Anyone wishing to obtain the list or to volunteer can email josiegair@icloud.com.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Victoria Police continue to investigate a stabbing in downtown Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Passerby calls police after finding man stabbed, sobbing on Victoria street

One man was sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

Most Read