Insurance company's volunteer efforts help seniors stay connected

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It has been easy for older people to feel lonely and isolated during the pandemic, but workers at a Pennsylvania insurance company have found a way to reach out to keep older customers connected.

Calls of Kindness is a volunteer effort by workers at Independence Blue Cross. Employees sign up to make phone calls on their own time to Medicare members, most of them living alone with chronic conditions. 

Diana Zalewski, IBX Government Markets Stars program analyst, says volunteers have reached out to more than 2,000 members.

"We've been helping people get access to food, access to prescriptions so they don't have to leave their homes, and get what they need," she explained.

Calls last anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour, depending on how much human interaction is needed on that particular day. Zalewski said their callers also address social isolation, and the difficulty it causes.

Ultimately, Zalewski said connecting with their members is what they're focused on.

"In most cases," she shared, "this population that we're speaking with, they're just so happy to get a call, to speak to somebody to address their concerns."