Watch: Building Bonds, Easing Loneliness: The Senior Companion Program in Action
Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s (PCA) Senior Companion Program was spotlighted on 6abc’s Art of Aging segment, a news series that connects older adults with various resources throughout the region. The program serves as a heartwarming initiative connecting dedicated volunteers with older Philadelphians in need.
One such volunteer, Deborah Washington, a retiree from the post office, shares her motivation: “I had retired from the post office and was just really looking to keep serving my community.” Washington, in her third year with the program, emphasizes her commitment to the cause: “I’m in it for the outcome, not the income. Giving is living.”
These companions, aged 55 or older, commit to 20 hours per week and undergo a criminal background check. PCA’s Health Promotion Nurse Supervisor Stephen Merrill, explains that the program “matches volunteers in the community with other older adults” to provide regular visits, recognizing that many older adults simply need “a friend in the community.”
Masa Hunley, an 89-year-old participant in the program, highlights the practical support provided by her companion: “Things I wouldn’t be able to do by myself, she helps me with.” Senior companions not only assist with light meal preparation and accompany older adults to appointments but also play a crucial role in combating loneliness.
With around 40 companions actively participating in the program, the positive outcomes and genuine connections formed highlight the initiative’s success.
Those interested in benefiting from or volunteering with the Senior Companion Program can call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or visit www.pcacares.org/senior-companion-program.
Click the link below to watch the full segment: