In 1974, the Senior Companion Program was funded by Congress, modeled after the successful Foster Grandparent Program. The Senior Companion Program helps frail seniors and other adults maintain independence primarily in the clients’ own homes. Approximately 15,000 Senior Companions serve more than 56,000 individuals each year. In Northeast Georgia, an average of 50 Senior Companion volunteers spend between 15 and 40 hours a week serving between one to four clients. Among other activities, they assist with daily living tasks, such as grocery shopping and bill paying; provide friendship and companionship; alert doctors and family members to potential problems, and provide respite to family caregivers. ACCA has sponsored the Northeast Georgia Senior Companion Program since 1988.
To qualify for the Northeast Georgia Senior Companion Program, individuals must be:
- 55 years of age or older
- A resident of Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, or Walton County
- Medically qualified (based on a physical examination) to serve without detriment to themselves or others,
- Able to pass criminal and sexual offender background checks,
- Be willing and able to follow instructions and accept supervision, and
- Have a total household income from all sources not greater that 200% of the poverty level.
Benefits of the Senior Companion Program include:
- Tax-free stipend of $2.65/hour
- Monthly training
- Annual physical
- Transportation and meal allowance
- Paid sick leave, vacation time, and holidays
- Annual recognition event and ongoing recognition
- Individual volunteer placement and support by Senior Corps staff
- Free supplemental insurance while volunteering, including excess auto liability, accident insurance, and personal liability insurance.
What our community is saying about Senior Companions…
“Being a volunteer has made my dream come true. Due to financial problems my mama couldn’t send me to college to be a R.N. Being in the Senior Program give me a chance to help others. The dream lives on.” – Senior Companion Volunteer
“[My Senior Companion] has put joy and companionship back into my life. I don’t have to be alone.” – Senior Companion in-home client
“What has made me happiest over the past year is how my client has made a difference in my life. Before I started this program I was always depressed. Didn’t want to get out of bed but now I can’t wait to see her everyday. I feel like a new person.” – Senior Companion Volunteer
“This program is a life-saver. I do not know what we would do without [my Senior Companion]. He has become one of my best friends, and my wife and I rely on him so much. This program is a God-send.” – Senior Companion in-home client