Today I learned about the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (“NICE”) and their Talk 2 NICE program.

NICE is an international network of researchers, practitioners and students dedicated to improving the care of older adults. Members come from a broad spectrum of disciplines and professions.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NICE is providing free outreach and counselling to older adults and persons with disabilities. Callers are able to speak to social workers or social work students. Talk 2 NICE can be reached toll free at 1 (844) 529-7292. Or, a time for a call from Talk 2 NICE can be scheduled on their webpage. The program can also be accessed over the internet by clicking on a link. Referrals for friends or family members are also accepted.

Callers have a choice of scheduling either a 15 minute or 30 minute “Friendly Check-In”.

The call is designed to help those socially isolated and lonely due to the current crisis. The service is also offered to caregivers. The trained volunteers will provide uplifting phone calls that respond flexibly to the needs of the caller, and will offer information about other available resource

Another excellent resource provided by NICE is a pamphlet entitled “To Stay Or To Go?: Moving Family from Institutional Care to your Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The brochure discusses a number of considerations to be taken into account when considering whether to remove a family member from a Long-Term Care Facility.

Mental health should be top of mind during these unique times. This is particularly so for the elderly. The service provided by NICE is an excellent resource. Pass on this information to anyone who may benefit from such a call.

Thanks for reading.

Paul Trudelle

P.S. Call your mother (or anyone else you know who may benefit from an isolation-breaking telephone call).