As wonderful and empowering as living alone and independently can be as one gets older, it can also be a bit nerve-racking, especially if you don't have much of a support system. What happens if you accidentally injure yourself or there is some sort of medical emergency and you are unable to call for help?

Some older people don't have family and friends who regularly check in and call, or they're retired and no longer have the safety net of co-workers who might notice if someone doesn't show up for work. The same is true for adults with disabilities.


In these cases, it would be good to have some sort of daily system set up to touch base with men and women who live independently to make sure they're doing alright.

Luckily, such a system exists. It used to be only in the Bangor area but is now state-wide and run by a staff of volunteers through the hospital system.

Closeup portrait of a beautiful elderly woman with copy space

According to the folks at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, the program is called "Caring Calls" and it was started back in 1979.

"Caring Calls is a free program that provides daily telephone contact for any individual who lives alone...Volunteers come to the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center located on State Street in Bangor to make the calls. They staff the phone lines Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 9:30 am...Maine has the oldest population in the nation, and we recognize many Maine seniors can benefit from a daily check-in call."


Hospital representatives say some folks, once assigned a time to call in, will call in earlier to leave a message that all is well if they don't plan to have a quick chat with the volunteers. Others will wait and speak briefly to the volunteer when they touch base. Either way, there's a way to account for each participant, and when volunteers cannot get ahold of someone, there's a plan in place to follow up and make sure that person is located, or that help is called if they're in distress.

They say the Caring Calls program is especially helpful to seniors who live alone and own a pet because participants know that if something were to happen to them and they couldn't call out for help, their pets would ultimately be taken care of.

Cute senior old woman making a heart shape with her hands and fingers

The process to sign up for the Caring Calls program is simple and involves filling out a very basic application.

If you're interested in finding out more, you can email the Caring Calls coordinator at Northern Light, Laura Lacasse

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