The Senior Companion Program run by Senior Services, Inc. matches eligible people over age 55 with volunteer opportunities in their communities where they earn a nontaxable hourly stipend, mileage reimbursement and meals. Senior citizens must have income below 200 percent of the national poverty level to qualify for the program.
The Senior Companion Program trains each volunteer for 40 hours before their first assignment and provides ongoing training to keep volunteers updated on pertinent issues. The program places volunteers in private homes, nursing homes, adult day care centers, and adult foster homes where they help adults with developmental or mental disabilities, frailty or mental illnesses with independent living activities. Examples of these activities include taking the individual grocery shopping or to a medical appointment. Volunteers receive an annual physical examination and supplemental insurance in exchange for their service.
Volunteers work as part of the individual's medical team that also includes doctors and family members, but the volunteer does not need any medical or technical skills. Instead, volunteers provide a break for primary care givers and alert doctors to any medical concerns. Volunteers help with daily tasks and encourage individuals to remain active. Many volunteers develop friendships with the individuals that they serve.