Program Director: Pamela Carre
The goal of the Senior Companion Program is to assist older adults to age in place, continue to live in their own homes or communities for as long as possible, rather than in less familiar and more costly nursing homes.
Senior Companion volunteers are 55 years and older who are low-income and trained to provide friendship and companionship at no cost to elderly individuals who are often living alone and may be at risk for institutional placement. Senior Companions serve as the eyes and ears of the agency detecting changes or potential problems with clients.
Senior Companions provide services to frail elderly, adults with disabilities and terminal illnesses who need extra assistance to live independently in their own homes. The volunteers and their clients benefit from the program which helps them to maintain independence, reduce isolation, improve positive mental health, quality of life and their dignity.
Senior Companions encourage clients with their daily activities, whether it’s preparing a meal, going for walks, playing games, reading mail/newspaper, or giving families or caregivers of clients much-needed time off.
Senior Companions visit their clients approximately two times a week and serve up to 20 hours per week. Most are entitled to a tax-free hourly stipend if they meet the income eligibility guidelines.
Program Benefits & Impact
In fiscal Year 2012-2013: 144 Volunteers provided companionship services to 459 clients and completed 89,284 volunteer service hours, valued at $1,976,747, (11,035 hours were provided through the Respite Program).
According to Broward County 2012 Profile, 104,536 seniors 60+ live alone; many are homebound, frail or disabled with no connection to the community or family living locally. Florida Department of Elder Affairs – Summary of Programs & Services Report, 2013 – indicated that 4.4 million residents are 60 and older. Florida currently ranks first in the nation in the percentage of its citizens who are elders and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future (23 percent in 2010 growing to 35 percent in 2030).
Benefits to the Volunteers and Clients
- Improved attitude, maintained independence, improved mental and physical health, reduced isolation and improved quality of life, and reduced risk of placing seniors in nursing home and assisted living facilities (ALF’s) due to inability to perform daily activities.
- Enables the clients to live independently and prevents premature institutionalization.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – 2010 National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information indicated that the average cost in the U.S. for Long Term Care-Semi-Private Room is $205/day costing $74,825 annually.
- Make a difference in the community that strengthens and helps preserve the Client’s and Volunteer’s independence.
- Helps low-income senior volunteers facing financial hardship, providing additional monthly income.
- Volunteering leads to new discoveries, new friends, longer live and promotes a positive outlook on life.
“Did You Know”
- 1,753,162 Broward County Population
- 108, 384 Veterans residing in Broward County
- 55,657 Broward County residents with two or more disabilities
- 38,449 Broward County residents with probable Alzheimer’s Cases
- 3,024 Assisted Living Facilities
- 366 Adult Family Care Homes
- 212 Adult Day Care Centers
- 679 Nursing Homes
- 410 Municipal Governments and 67 County
- 260+ Senior Centers
- 15 Memory Disorder Centers
- More than 7.1 million “Meals on Wheels” delivered to homebound elders
- More than 4.1 million meals served at nutrition sites, preventing isolation and loneliness
- 1,065,305 Florida residents 60+ Living Alone
- 106,255 Veterans in Broward County, 2012
- 1,617,248 Veterans in State of Florida, 2012
- State of Florida, Elder Services Network – October 2011
- Florida Department of Elder Affairs – Summary of Programs and Services, 2013
- 2012 Florida State Profile
- 2012 Broward County Profile