【Technology overcomes physical barriers, but unlocking the real communication is a caring heart – 8 August 2021】
“When you’re older, your happiness will be different. A luxurious and glamorous present may not make you happy. You’ll find happiness in little things like receiving a heart-warming telephone call or having a causal chic-chat with friends .
Ying is one of the trained volunteers of Connect Call service provided by CASS Care, a service to keep the Chinese seniors connected with the community especially when in-person visit is highly restricted under the prevailing pandemic.
Ying shared with us, “I make phone calls to the seniors every week or every fortnight. There is an ice-breaking period at the beginning when the seniors may be a bit shy and hesitate to share with a stranger. I try to comfort them with a gentle voice, listen to them with patience and care about their daily lives. Mutual trust is built up gradually and we become friends even though we have not met with each other. They are happy to share their ups and downs with me.”
In fact, the importance of Connect Call Services is not limited to caring only. Ying continued to share one of her experiences, “I used to call one of the seniors, Mrs. Lam, once a week. However something changed suddenly as she had not picked up my calls for a period of time. I worried about her and sensed that something was not right. I shared with CASS staff member Peony and she followed up with Mrs. Lam’s daughter about the situation. It was later found that Mrs. Lam’s hearing had deteriorated, so she had to turn on the radio and television very loud, and she could not hear the phone ring. Her daughter also said Mrs. Lam had become more quiet and did not speak much.”
Peony explained further, “Hearing deterioration is very common among the seniors over 65 years old, and the mental impact is more far-reaching than physical damage. Aged-related hearing decline greatly restricts the seniors from communicating and interacting, which may speed up their mental decline finally. At the initial stage of many cases, the seniors or their family members may not be aware of the decline. In Mrs. Lam’s case, thanks to Ying’s mindfulness and caring, the hearing problem could be identified and treated timely. Mrs. Lam could be offered a suitable hearing aid and her social life could be back to normal”
Now, Ying calls and chats with Mrs. Lam every week as usual. Receiving the phone call from Ying has become an important occasion for many of the seniors.
Our Connect Call service is not just “Connect” “Call”! It is a combination of companionship, precious friendship, concern and care, a sense of belonging, a safety net, a feeling of security, mutual support and encouragement, which is important for our seniors to lead an active and meaningful life.
We sincerely invite you to share this story with your family members, friends, neighbours and anyone who may be interested in our Connect Call service.
Please contact us on (02) 9789 4587 or email to Peony_Chik@cass.org.au for more information or enquiries.