Research has shown volunteers 55 and older who serve as senior companions often find they also reap significant financial and health benefits from the experience.
Idaho’s AmeriCorps Seniors Companion volunteers visit homes, help the person leave the house to go shopping, to doctor appointments and even the senior center for bingo. Volunteers also help with bills, laundry and engage in conversation over a cup of coffee.
According to a study on AmeriCorps senior programs,* benefits for individuals getting assistance include:
- Spending time with others.
- Living in their home.
- Cost of living stays down. The median monthly cost of an assisted living facility is $4,051 compared to the mean monthly housing expenditure of $1,505. Annual cost savings reach $30,552 per person.
- Improved health and decreased hospital visits. The federal government saved nearly $59 million each year on Medicare and Medicaid health care expenditures.
The study found senior companion volunteers also benefit:
- 55% of volunteers report a fair/poor health baseline prior to joining the program. They reported improved health after serving for nine months.
- Volunteers benefit from tax-free stipend provided through AmeriCorps.
- Volunteers stay active and engage in their community.
- Volunteers experience improved health. This directly correlates to medical care cost savings from decreased hospital visits.
To learn more about the AmeriCorps Senior Companion programs in northern Idaho and north central Idaho or how to become involved, visit:
North Idaho Senior Companions: https://www.seniorcompanionsidaho.org/
Panhandle Health District – Senior Companion Program: https://panhandlehealthdistrict.org/senior-companion-program/
WA-ID Volunteer Center Senior Companions Program: https://waidvolunteercenter.org/
* Read the full report at https://www.americorps.gov/sites/default/files/document/ROI_AmeriCorpsSeniors_FGP_SCP_508.pdf