The Senior Companion Program volunteers meet critical community needs and touch the lives of adults who need extra assistance to maintain independence in their own homes. They serve homebound senior, frail older adults, adults with disabilities, those with terminal illnesses and offer respite for caregivers. Senior Companion volunteers assist with daily living tasks, such as grocery shopping and bill paying, provide friendship and companionship to isolated and frail adults, encourage and escort to social and recreation outings, provide transportation to medical and other appointments, alert doctors and family members to potential problems; and give respite to family caregivers. Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) respite funds enable caregivers to be relieved from the care giving responsibility for scheduled periods of time.
Senior Companion Volunteers are adults, 55 and older, who provide support to family caregivers and homebound frail, elderly and/ or disabled. They assist with daily tasks necessary to maintain independence, and caregivers much needed respite. Senior Companions receive a small stipend ($2.65/hr), a physical exam, and as funds allow transportation cost; to/from the client’s home.
Eighty-two (82) volunteers have assisted approximately 172 clients an average of 8-30 hours per week, depending upon the assessed need of the client/caregiver.
- 100% of caregivers receiving service reported they experience less stress and have an improved sense of well-being.
- 100% of caregivers report with the support of the program they are able to continue the care giving role versus long term care.
- 97% of clients receiving in home services from volunteers report a decrease in feeling of loneliness and isolation.
- 100% of clients receiving in home services report the volunteer’s visits have helped them to remain living independently in their own home. The Family Caregiver Resource Specialist for Region P has identified the Senior Companion Program as a cost effective resource to support family caregivers by providing funds for respite in four of the five counties CCA, Inc, Senior Companion Program serves.
- The excessive cost of fuel is a growing problem. Volunteers receive little compensation for travel reimbursement and the budget doesn’t allow for an increase.
- The need to identify and establish agreements with other agencies in Carteret and Jones Counties, to host, assign and supervise volunteers.
- The growing need for volunteers to provide one-on–one assistance and prompts for at risk clients attending local senior centers, because, Senior Companions are a limited resource, assignments should give priority to older adults who have the greatest potential to achieve and maintain independence.
- Limited federal funding with little opportunity for budget increases.
- Obtain additional HCCBG county funds, in light of increased requirement for at- risk clients attending local senior centers and support of in-home services to older/disabled adults will be a necessity.
- Continue providing high quality education to volunteers regarding available community services available to their clients and the caregivers they serve. Volunteers will each participate in the eight module Senior Companion Program training curriculum ‘Providing Independent Living Services’.
- Increasing coordination with agencies to promote evidence based workshops for volunteers and the clients they serve in order for the older adults to live healthier lives.