Research shows that social isolation takes a toll on health, well-being and quality of life, especially as we get older. That’s why the Good Samaritan Society developed Kin Ministry, an innovative program that coordinates in-person, phone and video-chat connections between isolated seniors and volunteers from their faith community.

Even though “technology can be an important part of the solution for loneliness,” says Denice Dengler, Kin Ministry’s manager, “people still want and need human connection.” Active listening is the key, according to Denice and Barb Schwery, executive director of BeFriender Ministry, which trains the volunteers.

Here are their tips for becoming a better, more active listener: