Birds of a feather flock together... But what happens if isolation prevents flocking?

LifeBio designed MyHelloLine to be a loneliness intervention. While it has been geared towards serving elders, it is not limited to any particular ages. The idea is that weekly telephone calls will help increase social connectedness and help cut down on feelings of isolation and depression, even more so during our nation’s current pandemic. There are different types of telephone calls available, depending on what a person finds most suitable to individual needs and preferences.

Some people choose to participate in MyHelloLine‘s weekly group calls, where participants discuss one reminiscent topic per week, based on LifeBio’s Reminiscence Therapy Method. Group members join a one-hour call led by a LifeBio guide, in which they discuss topics such as a favorite school day memory, heirlooms or items they have collected, or historic events they have lived through. The call is an hour of the day to enjoy good conversation and company, without worrying about other things.

Other people choose to be matched in MyHelloLine‘s Person to Person calls, where two partners talk one on one through automated weekly phone calls at an agreed-upon time. Participants are trained on topics they may discuss from week to week, such as important people in their lives, past work experiences, or favorite holidays. Over time participants often grow to have lasting friendships and can choose to have more contact with one another.

The next type of calls people can request are weekly check-in calls, where a MyHelloLine guide calls to check-in on a person who might be at risk for social isolation or loneliness. They talk one on one reminiscing and reflecting on life experiences. Calls can last for 15, 30, or 60 minutes and occur on an agreed upon date and time. After starting the call by talking about daily life and how people are doing, call topics may include hobbies and interests, family relationships, beliefs and values, and more. These phone calls can truly change people’s lives through checking in on them and bringing light to their day.

The final type of calls that MyHelloLine offers are weekly one-on-one telephone calls between a LifeBio student intern and a caller. Some people prefer this intergenerational call option with the perspective students bring to calls discussing reminiscent topics, such as childhood memories or even talking about more current topics.

LifeBio would like to share one unique (out of many) examples for how MyHelloLine is changing lives for the better.

Please allow LifeBio to introduce you to MyHelloLine Guide Amy and Caller Bev (who have both given permission for us to share their special story and photos).

Several months ago, at an agreed upon time, Guide Amy began calling Bev on Saturday mornings for MyHelloLine. Bev admitted that she does not always get many calls, which various days could lead her to some feelings of loneliness and even depression. The good news is that from the start, Guide Amy and Bev hit it off! They have enjoyed talking about gardening, and soon Bev was telling Amy about a nest with five eggs in it, just outside of her house on her property. From week to week Bev has updated Amy on the progress of that nest and the eggs, while going on to discuss other topics too. Over the months they have talked about nature and being outside, cooking, their family and friends, and much more.

Bev has shared that as a 15-year widow, especially with having to stay home for multiple months during the pandemic, it can be particularly difficult feeling all alone. It is even harder during times of social isolation and coronavirus when her family members are not able to regularly see her. With living in the country for 45 years, without many neighbors close by, that means even fewer people are near who could check in on Bev right now. Keeping all of that in mind, Saturday morning calls have become something that Bev especially looks forward to each week.

Guide Amy confesses that it is not just Bev though, as Amy looks forward to their weekly conversations too. One week in particular, as Amy and Bev were discussing gardening, they started talking about fried green tomatoes. Amy shared that she had a love for fried green tomatoes but did not get any last year because they were hard to find. Bev jumped right in explaining that she grows tomatoes. She pulls one round of red tomatoes from the vine, and then for the next round she picks green tomatoes. Bev said that she would be more than happy to share, if only Amy could pick them up.

Several more weeks of Saturday morning chats continued. Like Bev’s garden, through conversation, their friendship has also continued to blossom. Amy says that Bev is now a friend for life, like a grandmother, and their Saturday morning calls are a great way to start the weekend.

One thing led to another, and it became not only a possibility but a reality that Amy and Bev could meet face to face. Amy was able to go to Bev’s house to see her beautiful garden, where they picked basil, dill, zucchini, and you guessed it, green tomatoes! They were also able to enjoy eating zucchini fritters together. Amy even took and introduced her husband to Bev, and she hopes to one day introduce her children to Bev too.

During their visit Bev was able to introduce Amy to some important little ones in her own life. Just the day before, in one of the nests that she had been so closely watching and reporting on, the eggs hatched!

As the baby birds will grow into something beautiful, Bev and Amy’s friendship will continue to bloom into something even more precious. It all started because LifeBio’s MyHelloLine wants to help change lives. We would love to bring positive connections to your or a loved one’s life too, if you’re looking for something new to hatch. MyHelloLine strives to bring together more birds of a feather.

Could you or someone in your life benefit from MyHelloLine weekly calls? For more information, contact LifeBio online at https://www.lifebio.org/myhelloline/, via email at myhello@lifebio.com, or via telephone at 1-866-LIFEBIO or 937-303-4576.