Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

New Support Line For Seniors Sees Plenty Of Demand During COVID-19

5eea90fe0b58df000867b55d-eight.jpg
GoldenTALK volunteers load food and supplies for seniors. (Image Courtesy GoldenTALK)
LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today during our fall member drive.

A new L.A.-based support line designed to combat social isolation among seniors has fielded more than 4,200 calls since it launched in March.

It’s called GoldenTALK — (888) 60-GOLDEN or (888) 604-6533 — and the idea behind it was to offer people 60 and older friendly conversation and referrals to services when needed.

The service was launched just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Support for LAist comes from

“Now you’ve got more stress from the seniors who were not used to self-isolating, who would run their errands, go pay their bills,” said Kimberly Lewis of the IDSGT Foundation, which launched GoldenTALK.

Lewis, who used to run a homeless women’s shelter in South L.A., said there are now about 100 volunteers involved. She said the idea for GoldenTALK came in part from what she experienced in a previous job as a switchboard operator at a police department.

“I remembered how many seniors — especially in the evening hours — were calling not because they needed assistance, but because they were simply lonely,” Lewis said.

Tracy Ben-Ami, a certified rehabilitation counselor, volunteers her time as a mental health coach for some of the seniors who call in. She's heard from a lot of people with coronavirus-related anxiety.

“They’re terrified,” Ben-Ami said. “They know they’re vulnerable and going out there could really get them sick.”

Support for LAist comes from

That’s part of the reason why Lewis and the IDSGT Foundation are now facilitating grocery and toiletry deliveries. So far those have ramped up to about 50 stops a week. The foundation has started a GoFundMe page to delivery effort.

GO DEEPER:

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.