NORTH BAY -- The phones are ringing at senior's homes across North Bay thanks to a joint-program run by the city and the Golden Age Club called "Are You O.K.?"

"It's not just for seniors, we can have disabled people," said Maureen Bruce-Payne, the program administrator.

"We don't ask for age. When we got our grant to do the program, the city said anyone can be on it."

This program serves as a daily check-up on those signed up.

Bruce-Payne along with city councillor, Bill Vrebosch, say in these times, seniors are isolated from loved ones and that the service can eliminate the fear of being alone.

"It's more than an opportunity, it's a fact that it lets them know they're not alone," said Vrebosch.

"This is the whole part of this program. You're not alone."

A voice-activated computer system will phone subscribers every day at a pre-determined time to ensure the senior is okay.

If they are fine, the call ends. If that person isn't okay, then they'll be told to hang up right away and call 9-1-1.

"A lot of people don't know about the "Are You O.K.?" program and it does allow peace of mind for family, friends and even the clients," said Bruce-Payne.

If no one answers, an alarm will sound and a volunteer at the Golden Age Club will call the next of kin.

About 14 seniors have signed up for the program.

"This program runs continually. Therefore people will never feel like they're alone," said Vrebosch.
"They'll get a phone call every day at a certain time and feel like someone is paying attention to them."

Since the pandemic has closed down the Golden Age Club, both Vrebosch and Bruce-Payne say its more difficult for seniors to feel connected.

Vrebosch is challenging other northern communities to start similar phone service for seniors in their cities.