UMaine Extension Senior Companion Program joins RSVP and Foster Grandparent Programs in Recognizing “National Senior Corps Week,” May 6-10, 2013. Thank you to our over 100 Senior Companion Program Volunteers!
Posts Tagged ‘senior companions’
The Channel 7 (WVII) May 23 evening news report featured the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Senior Companion Program, which matches older volunteers with elders, many of whom are living at home alone, to provide companionship, conversation and camaraderie.
An economic impact survey of elder Maine residents receiving regular visits by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program has concluded that the program saved at least $4.6 million in 2011 by supporting elders choosing to remain in their own homes.
Senior Companions helps aging Maine residents remain independent and in their homes, particularly when they live in rural areas and don’t have relatives living nearby. The program has some 124 senior companion volunteers who serve more than 500 clients. In 2010, companions made 27,510 visits for a total of 83,712 hours in 14 of Maine’s 16 counties, according to Cooperative Extension.
The recent surveys returned by about 100 clients included people who were 90 years old or older and who live in their own homes alone. They were asked about heart disease, dementia or diabetes and if they have family living close by. Those reporting they live alone with at least one chronic illness, and thought they would be in a nursing home if not for their senior companion, said they would need MaineCare to pay for nursing home residency.
“We took into account other funding and made sure those amounts were deleted from the total, including the $14,340 which is currently received from the state,” says Ann Swain, program director. “We concluded, based on average nursing home costs, that the Senior Companion Program saves MaineCare $4.6 million per year.”
Swain notes that the Senior Companion Program could be saving the state much more if the current total client population were surveyed. “Imagine how much we could be saving in MaineCare dollars if we had the funds to visit clients across the state of Maine who are not currently being visited,” she says.
Assisting in the survey were John Rebar, Cooperative Extension director, Deb Eckart, an Extension educator in Machias, in addition to Swain in Orono.
Contact: Ann Swain, (207) 581-3326
“We have a lot of volunteers who say they just don’t want to sit at home and watch the world go by,” said Ann Swain, statewide director for the Senior Companion program at University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “They start out by thinking they’re going to help somebody else and end up feeling they get more out of it than they put in.”
Read more in the Bangor Daily News article “Friends for life: Senior Companion program marks 30 years in Maine.”
Paula Burnett, the RSVP program director in UMaine’s Center on Aging, appeared Wednesday Morning on Portland’s WCSH television to discuss National Senior Corps Week, which is celebrating the accomplishments of volunteers age 55 and over through the Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion Program, and RSVP.
More info about Senior Companion Program>>
September 20-24, 2010
Recognizing the invaluable volunteering of
- Foster Grandparents (FGP)
- Retired and Senior Volunteers (RSVP)
- Senior Companions (SCP)
Anyone 55 years old or older has the opportunity to volunteer with one of these wonderful programs. AND if you are low income and volunteer with either FGP or SCP, you are eligible to receive a small stipend and some mileage reimbursement. If you DO NOT qualify for the stipend, you can still volunteer as a non-stipend volunteer.
Contact: Corporation for National and Community Service, www.cns.gov, 1-603-225-1452