Anna Saar, who coordinates the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program for Oxford, Androscoggin and Franklin counties, spoke with the Sun Journal about the program and her upcoming talk in Otisfield. Saar is scheduled to speak February 6, 2014 at a presentation hosted by the Otisfield Social Outreach Committee for residents interested in helping their elderly homebound neighbors stay independent. She said the need for volunteers is great, and the visits require nothing more than companionship.
The first annual Maine Seniors Day is Sept. 14, 2013 — a day to recognize the service and contributions of all Maine seniors. University of Maine Cooperative Extension would like to thank its hundreds of participating seniors across the state who are actively involved in its range of programs — from Senior Companion to Master Gardener Volunteers. Today and every day, we honor your involvement and efforts.
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!
Friday, May 17, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Spectacular Events Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor, Maine
Take advantage of FREE health screenings…vision test, blood pressure check, cholesterol test, blood glucose test and falls-risk assessment.
The Channel 7 (WVII) May 23, 2012 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
October 7th, 2011
Read more in the Bangor Daily News article “Friends for life: Senior Companion program marks 30 years in Maine.”
The 2011 Washington County Extension Association Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. at the Whitneyville Community Building.
John Ahlin from Machias will receive the Norman W. Duzen Community Service Award. This award, named after Norman W. Duzen, is presented to a person who has made significant volunteer contributions to their community. John started the first Senior Companion Program east of the Mississippi River in 1980. He has been active in several local organizations such as the Machias Valley Sportsmen’s Club, Lions Club, Sunrise Research Institute, Meals for Me, and Project Alert, as well as others. He has been very active at the Centre Street Congregational Church. John has been involved with many organizations throughout his lifetime and is one of many volunteers in Washington County who quietly goes about enriching the lives of many people.
The University of Maine Volunteer Pen Awards will be presented to Joyce Getchell of Roque Bluffs for her contributions to the Washington County Extension Association. Rebecca Whitney of Jonesboro will be honored for her volunteer contributions to the UMaine Extension 4-H Summer Camp Program.
Fred Hartman of DownEast Drawings in Whiting will receive the Extension Business Leadership in Action Award for his dedication and contribution to the people and economy of Washington County.
The evening program will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Senior Companion Program. The celebration will include highlights from the Senior Companion Program in Washington County and include a PowerPoint presentation of pictures. Certificates of appreciation will be awarded to all of Washington County’s Senior Companions.
There will be a potluck supper. Please bring a dish to pass. We would like to have a head count by April 8th. Please contact the Washington County Extension Office at 255-3345 or 1-800-287-1542 if you are planning to attend.