Partnering to Reduce Senior Social Isolation

Early this year, the National Council of Jewish Women, Toronto approached us with an idea to address the issue of senior isolation in our community. The pandemic took an extra toll on our seniors as they stayed home to stay safe. Social isolation increased and made an impact on the health and well-being of those most isolated and alone.

The Bernard Betel Centre and the National Council of Jewish Women, Toronto came together to create the NCJWCToronto-Betel Buddy Program. This joint program matched Betel Centre members with NCJWC Toronto volunteers to engage in a weekly friendly telephone conversation. The twelve-week pilot program ran from July to September 2022. Volunteers attended a virtual orientation and training session and met again in August to check in and provide an update on how the matches were going.

At the end of the pilot, volunteers completed a short evaluation survey and the seniors provided their feedback over the phone. Ten volunteers and seven seniors participated in the pilot. One volunteer shared, “It was fun getting to know someone new with different life experiences. We have learned many things from each other.” Based on the positive feedback from all participants, the program will continue in January 2023 with new matches and more participants. Some of the participants in the pilot will continue to stay connected with their telephone Betel-buddy.

If you or someone you know would enjoy a weekly, friendly visit over the telephone, please contact Sharon Chodirker at or Cheryl Besner at
The Bernard Betel Centre offers a Friendly Visiting program and matches seniors with a volunteer for in-person visits in the senior’s home. Please contact our Community Services Support staff or click HERE for more on this program.

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