Helping elders stay independent can be a challenge in Maine’s rural areas. Many older adults do not have relatives living nearby and must rely on others to help them. Through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program, homebound elders are able to stay in their own homes longer thanks to regular visits from Senior Companions — dedicated, active individuals age 55 and older.
The UMaine Extension Senior Companion Program currently serves 14 of Maine’s 16 counties. The Senior Companion Program has an average of 121 Companions who serve 469 clients. In 2013, Companions made 24,856 client visits for a total of 76,776 hours of volunteer time. See how you can get involved.
To contact a representative near you, see our list of county contacts.
Senior Companion Program Partners with Eastern Area Agency on Aging on Weinberg Foundation Grant for Caregiving
A three year grant was awarded by the Weinberg Foundation to a group of partners in Hancock and Washington County who have a mutual, deep-seated interest in improving services to caregivers.
This group’s goal is to bring together and build upon the established, but limited, resources and community options which are essential for caregivers to keep their loved ones at home — a more desired and affordable place to be than nursing or residential care.
Every community is different and programs are being developed to meet their unique needs. Some potential options include creating more adult day programs, getting additional help in the home or outside the home which would give caregivers a break, and providing or increasing transportation options, education and training for caregivers.
It is critical that caregivers pay attention to their own physical, mental and emotional health in order to continue caring for another. The Senior Companion Program’s role is to work collaboratively with Eastern Area Agency on Aging to provide respite hours to caregivers in these communities.
Image Description: Seniors play checkers; photo by Edwin Remsberg, USDA