Skip to main content

Friendship Line: nation's only 24-hour hotline for older adults in jeopardy


Dear GeriPal community,

We write today with a different sort of post.

We realize direct solicitations are not the intended purpose of GeriPal but this time we appeal directly to you as our peers and readers to help a national service at risk of being shut down. To each of you who has experienced or laid witness to depression, loneliness, grief, and isolation among older adults, we ask that you consider a contribution to help support the Friendship Line.

The Friendship Line is the nation's only toll-free, accredited, 24-hour suicide prevention hotline and warm-line for seniors and disabled adults. The Friendship Line makes and receives more than 100,000 calls every year, providing a lifeline for thousands of lonely, isolated older adults, who are 2-3 times more likely than teens to commit suicide. For many of these clients, the Friendship Line is the only human connection they can count on.

Unfortunately, this vital program is facing a significant challenge. The Friendship Line recently lost two-thirds of its funding, putting the program’s future in jeopardy. The Friendship Line is mounting a significant effort to identify long-term partners and sponsors to restore lost funding to maintain the existing program, and to expand and improve the Friendship Line.

But that will take time, and callers need help right now. Carla and I have been privileged to work closely with the leadership and volunteers of the Friendship Line. The Friendship Line has been an invaluable resource for our patients who are lonely, sad, anxious, or just need a warm, caring person to talk to.

In addition to receiving calls, the Friendship Line makes calls out to seniors and adults with disability. As most of us know, mental health care and services for seniors, especially those who are homebound can be non-existent. And many seniors and disabled adults experience loneliness. The Friendship Line helps connect individuals to trained volunteers who provide innumerable hours of telephone support.

On behalf of the volunteers and staff of the Friendship Line, we're asking for your help.

Please visit this site to learn more about the Friendship Line and to make a donation.

We are grateful for whatever you can give. Even if you can't donate, please share this link with others on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Together we can ensure that the Friendship Line remains open 24/7, and there will always be a friend at the other end of the line.

Helen Kao and Carla Perissinotto

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Dangers of Fleet Enemas

The dangers of oral sodium phosphate preparations are fairly well known in the medical community. In 2006 the FDA issued it’s first warning that patients taking oral sodium phosphate preparations are at risk for potential for acute kidney injury. Two years later, over-the-counter preparations of these drugs were voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturers.  Those agents still available by prescription were given black box warnings mainly due to acute phosphate nephropathy that can result in renal failure, especially in older adults. Despite all this talk of oral preparations, little was mentioned about a sodium phosphate preparation that is still available over-the-counter – the Fleet enema.

Why Oral Sodium Phosphate Preparations Are Dangerous 

Before we go into the risks of Fleet enemas, lets spend just a couple sentences on why oral sodium phosphate preparations carry significant risks. First, oral sodium phosphate preparations can cause significant fluid shifts within the colon …

Dying without Dialysis

There is a terrific article in this weeks Journal of Pain and Symptom Management by Fliss Murtagh of King's College in London about the epidemiology of symptoms for patients with advanced renal failure who die without dialysis.  This study is important because while we know that patients with advanced renal failure have a limited life expectancy and the average age of initiation of hemodialysis is increasing, we know little about the alternatives to hemodialysis.  Specifically, we know nothing about symptoms affecting quality of life among patients who elect not to start dialysis (so called "conservative management" - is this the best label?).  This article provides a terrific counterpoint to the article in last years NEJM showing that nursing home residents who initiated hemodialysis tended to die and decline in function (see GeriPal write up here). 

The study authors followed patients with the most advanced form of chronic kidney disease (the new name for renal failu…

Survival from severe sepsis: The infection is cured but all is not well

Severe sepsis is a syndrome marked by a severe infection that results in the failure of at least one major organ system: For example, pneumonia complicated by kidney failure. It is the most common non-cardiac cause of critical illness and is associated with a high mortality rate.

But what happens to those who survive their hospitalization for severe sepsis? An important study published in JAMA from Iwashyna and colleagues provides answers and tells us all is not well. When the patient leaves the hospital, the infection may be cured, but the patient and family will need to contend with a host of major new functional and cognitive deficits.

Iwashyna examined disability and cognitive outcomes among 516 survivors of severe sepsis. These subjects were Medicare enrollees who were participants in the Health and Retirement Study. The average age of patients was 77 years.

When interviewed after discharge, most survivors were left with major new deficits in their ability to live independently. …