Phone Friends who Care About Each Other

Good karma results from good deeds done for others. “Phone Friend” volunteer Kitty Young discovered this with her clients recently when circumstances disrupted her usual calling arrangements. That is when the good karma kicked in.

Kitty volunteered for the “Phone Friend” service with Age Concern about twelve months ago and began with three clients. One client went into hospital and then a retirement home, so she was down to two whom she talked to on a regular basis. She has even met each of them for coffee recently.

Kitty is a senior herself. She had been living in the flat under her landlord’s house for years when suddenly he sold the house; so she had to move out. She moved out of Wellington to Lower Hutt, where she’d never lived before and had few friends or contacts.

On top of that, she had to go to hospital in late 2022 because of an accident, and eventually completely lost sight in her right eye. The bad news continued as she then had to contend with the death of her mother due to Covid with all the readjustment that follows from such events.

Kitty rang her two phone friends less frequently through the disruption and the transitional arrangements while regaining her stability. She explained, “There’s a time and a date that I will call them because I think that’s when they are by their landline. Both don’t have a mobile so I can’t really let them know unless I ring them to say that I’m not available.” They noticed that she was not calling at the regular times.

It’s a testament to her dedication that they felt so connected with her that they were missing the calls and worried when calls were missed.

“It was really lovely when they started calling me. That was over a one-month period, but now I’m back to normal with them. People just love to hear a familiar voice every week on the same day, and we’ve got to know each other very well.”

Kitty has moved back to Wellington and is more settled. She describes herself as a listener. “Mostly I’m a better listener – and it’s really good to know they trust me with their personal details and issues. Sometimes I will suggest things that they can do through Age Concern to get help with any particular thing like Advanced Care Planning.  So I can always steer them in the right direction.”

But Kitty does not just sit around talking on the phone. She does volunteer work for a couple of other agencies to fill in her time. “I enjoy the volunteering because it gets me out and about.” Good karma comes from that sort of attitude.

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