How to Get Involved - Senior Companions
What is the Senior Companion Program?
The Senior Companion Program is a volunteer program for older Americans who are interested in helping homebound elders or isolated adults maximize, maintain, or regain their independence. The program offers a unique opportunity to become involved with people.
What does a Senior Companion do?
Senior Companions serve 15 or more hours per week visiting several homebound or isolated senior adults. They provide companionship: taking walks together, reading, letter writing, reminiscing, and just being a friend. They may share information about healthful living and activities of daily life or go shopping together. Perhaps one of their most important roles is to combat loneliness and isolation, which threaten independence and health. Senior Companions may also provide respite services for family caregivers.
Is training provided?
Twenty hours of initial orientation training, including job shadowing, is coordinated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Job shadowing with an experienced Senior Companion helps you feel comfortable with your new role. Four hours of monthly training is provided through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This education is used by the Senior Companion to help clients with various aspects of daily living by providing practical information on how to cope with a range of modern day problems.
Who is eligible to become a Senior Companion?
People 55 years of age or older, in good health, and interested in helping homebound or isolated adults are eligible to become Senior Companions. Tax-free stipend is dependent upon income eligibility.
What are the benefits of being a Senior Companion?
- Meet new friends
- Knowing that you are important in the lives of others
- A feeling of purpose
- Tax-free stipend for income-eligible individuals (payments received by Senior Companion Volunteers are not taxable and do not affect eligibility for government benefits such as food stamps, SSI, subsidized housing, medical or heating assistance).
- Earned vacation, sick, and holiday time
- Mileage reimbursement or assistance with volunteer transportation expenses
- Monthly training classes
- Opportunity to help others
- Supplemental Accident and Liability insurance
- Annual physical
How can I become a Senior Companion?
For further information and an application, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (207) 581-3326 or 1-800-287-0274 (in Maine).
The Senior Companion Program is sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, With funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, United Way of Eastern Maine and through tax-free contributions.