If you are at least 55 years of age and enjoy helping others, you can become a valuable part of a new program improving lives of seniors and the disabled in your local community. The Senior Companion Program (SCP) provides individuals residing in suburban Cook County with meaningful volunteer opportunities within their own communities.
Neighbors join together in a structured program to learn valuable skills and assist the elderly overcome isolation and maintain a stronger connection to their local community. There is no cost to residents receiving companion services. Without the help of Senior Companions, many older adults would not be able to continue living in their homes.
Can you be a Senior Companion? Senior Companions are:
- Over 55 years of age and live in suburban Cook County
- Can volunteer 15 to 40 hours per week
- Have a limited income (in order to receive the stipend)
- Love to help their neighbors
Senior companions often identify the same persons they will assist in this program aimed at engaging people often within walking distance of one another. Senior Companions become part of a team of caregivers. They alert doctors and family members to potential health problems. Senior Companions also provide short periods of respite to primary caregivers such as family members.
As a Senior Companion, you will receive:
- Pre-service and on-going training
- Supplemental insurance
- Help with transportation costs
- A small stipend for those who are income eligible
- The joy of helping others live on their own
The individuals helped by Senior Companions receive:
- Assistance with important daily tasks
- Encouragement to remain active
- A watchful eye to notice when they need extra care
- A friendship that can last a lifetime
They may help with shopping, trips to medical appointments, and recreational activities within the community. Typically, SCP volunteers provide companionship and assistance to 2 or 3 clients in their nearby community.
SCP volunteers living at or below 200% of the poverty income guideline receive an income stipend for each hour spent receiving training and providing companionship in their local community plus a mileage and meal allowance. Income earned in the Senior Companion Program is not subject to taxes and will not impact social security or disability benefits.
You do not need medical or technical skills to be a Senior Companion. All you need to know is how to be a friend. Senior Companions offer adults contact with the world outside of their homes and make their lives less lonely. Along the way, Senior Companions find out that few things feel as good as knowing you are needed.
SCP is sponsored by Center of Concern and is a program of the National Senior Service Corp.