Senior Companion Program
“It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years!”
The Senior Companion Program (SCP) is a volunteer program that has elderly helping elderly. Those who may be at risk of being institutionalized find comfort, friendship and needed assistance in someone near to their own age.
SCP provides a way for low-income people age 55 and older to help other seniors who have difficulty with daily living tasks, such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, or even bill paying. Senior companions spend from 15 to 40 hours a week helping two to four adult clients live independently in their own homes. Three-quarters of that time is spent developing companionship through games, puzzles, reading and talking. The final quarter is environmental in nature – the part where the companion makes a meal or sweeps the floor. But all of it helps give seniors “the warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone,” explained SCP Director Rod Poling. And together they do learn that much life is left in their years.
More than 50 seniors can participate in this program serving those needing assistance in Brooke, Monongalia, Preston, Harrison, Taylor, Ritchie, Doddridge, Pleasants, Wood, Cabell and McDowell counties. New participants are always being sought.
Senior companions often provide relief to care givers. In return for their volunteer service, they receive a stipend of $2.65 per hour, accident and liability insurances and meals while on duty, reimbursement for transportation, and monthly training. The income is nontaxable.
It’s a way for people to stay active in the community. It’s an opportunity to create friendships and show compassion for others. It’s a chance for seniors to help seniors.