Becoming a Senior Companion on a Stipend

Updated on May 21, 2020
Perspycacious profile image

Author is a retired government worker at the state and federal level. He has freelance/publisher credits in national papers and magazines.

One more volunteer.
One more volunteer. | Source

Volunteering as a Paid Senior Companion: Giving Care for a Caregiver

The old question was "Who gives care to the caregiver's daughter, when the caregiver is away giving care?" The answer today might be a Senior Companion.

For qualifying Americans with special needs, the United States Government provides funds to allow qualified volunteers to receive an hourly, non-taxable stipend and transportation costs to provide much-needed assistance.

The program also serves as added income for the volunteers, in effect benefiting both the volunteer and the recipient of their services.

What a Typical Week Is Like

I work as a Senior Companion, and here is an example of what my week is like:

Monday: I will spend three hours with a senior male whose primary need is for a friend who can spend time with him and occasionally transport him to the bank, the store, a doctor's appointment, etc. We will probably play pool at a senior center and eat lunch together there. He will pay $3 for his lunch, and so will I, but my cost of $3 will be reimbursed when I submit my time sheet at the end of the month. My mileage to meet with him will be reimbursed also, as well as any mileage for short trips he needs to take to and from the senior center, store, etc.

Tuesday: I will take a senior male who has Alzheimer's to the same senior center to play bingo, have our $3 lunches, and then home. Back at home, we may play tic-tac-toe, or I will read to him from a picture book while his caregiver wife has 3 or 4 hours to do needed shopping, go to the dentist, get a pedicure, visit a friend, etc.

Wednesday: I will take a senior male for his weekly shopping trips to a nearby store and pharmacy for his groceries and medications. We will also go to the senior center for our lunches, and we will have time to visit, play a game, or on occasion go to one of his medical appointments during the four hours we meet each week.

Thursday: This will be a repeat of my time with my Alzheimer's client and respite time for his caregiver.

Friday (or one day each month): I will have in-service Senior Companion training with other volunteers in our group with lunch provided. Later in the day, I will take another senior male client and assist him with his transportation and weekly shopping, which takes just an hour to an hour and a half. If this is not the monthly training day, I will also meet and assist another client in the same way and take him to lunch and some companionship activity.

What Other Volunteers May Do

In our group, women volunteers may spend their week doing many of the same things I do, but for senior women clients. Some may also need transportation, or assistance writing letters and reading mail, or they just need time with someone who cares about their concerns and daily needs.

Requirements for Volunteers

  • All Senior Companions are vetted, fingerprinted, licensed to drive their own properly insured vehicles, and meet the maximum household income requirements all volunteers must meet to participate.
  • Volunteers should commit to serving a minimum of one year, though our group has many volunteers who have been serving for five, ten, or even more years.

More Senior Companions Are Needed Across the U.S.

Generally speaking, most areas of the United States need additional volunteers for fellow Americans who really would benefit from being served by their neighbors. If you have some time you can dedicate to helping others facing special needs, why not check out the Senior Companion program in your state?

If you need this kind of help for someone you know, contact your local Senior Companion program director. Find out what help is available.

Help and helping are a phone call away! Call your local Senior Companion Program today. It can make a difference in your life and the lives of others in need.
Help and helping are a phone call away! Call your local Senior Companion Program today. It can make a difference in your life and the lives of others in need. | Source

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      3 weeks ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Notification I received today about the Senior Companion Program:

      "We heard from the corporation. They are not allowing any serving until August 14th. They will continue to pay you admin leave until then." Note: I read to one stroke client one hour per day M-F. I deliver groceries to another M-F. And another wants to play cards by phone!

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      6 weeks ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Best bet is to Google for Senior Companion, San Diego.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Demas I am interested. Can you direct me to the San Diego group?

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      6 weeks ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      BTW our program is suspended (with pay) so that the volunteers (all over 60) are not at risk of COVID-19. Our next scheduled event is June 17 for in-service training which will respect social distancing. I can still pick up free foods for my clients and deposit them outside their doors. Any emergency needs would be handled by the younger office staff folks. Submitting a monthly time sheet reflective of a normal month, and being paid for it, is a tribute to the perceived value of the program looking forward (now at $3 per hour, $282 last month.)

    • mothersofnations profile image

      Mothers of Nations 

      18 months ago

      Great article! This is something I’ve considered many times in the recent past, and pray I’ll be able to participate somehow in the future. It’s so important for our elders to know others care (and for busy caregivers to refresh with a little rest.) God bless you and yours, Demas ⭐️

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      More details have been added to this article on 3/14/2018.

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Dear Dora,

      As I wrote to Eric, this is one program that actually works, and is satisfying a need. D.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for sharing this valuable information which can benefit both the caregivers and those in need of care. What a productive, satisfying experience for the senior volunteers; which in many cases may be answers to prayers! Thanks also for being a good example to many.

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Dear Savvy Yves,

      The real thanks comes from receiving such comments as "You really made my day. Thanks." Besides those, being involved with a group of "like" minded servers is also a reward. Some of them do two clients a day, five days a week, heaping those feel-good rewards on their broad shoulders and treasuring up rewards where they will ultimately count one day in the not too distant future. Love, D.

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Dear Eric,

      Truly this is one government program from which taxpayers get a real "bang for the buck!" For many it means care given at home instead of terribly expensive care elsewhere. For the 24/7 care givers it means 17/7 care giving, and often it means relief where there has been none. If you want to know one wife's version of what Alzheimer's care is really like (and she fortunately had good help from family and friends) read Judy Seegmiller's book entitled "Big Al". It documents a road no care giver should have to travel alone.

    • savvydating profile image


      2 years ago

      Congratulations! I honestly appreciate the work you do.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you friend for filling me in on such a wonderful two way street of helping our neighbors. It would seem this program is really beneficial to the Companion. From a quick check there are millions and millions of hours put into this yearly. People helping people with a boost from our Gov. Fantastic!


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