by Karen Flores, J.D., Hotline Attorney
The Corporation for National & Community Service established the Senior Corps agency for people age 55 and over who want to volunteer in their community and provide aid to people in need. Previously, we discussed the Foster Grandparent Program which connects seniors to children in need to provide emotional support, mentoring, and tutoring services. Another program which operates through the Senior Corps is the Senior Companion Program.
Senior Companions assist adults with physical, emotional, or mental health limitations to enable them to remain independent in their homes rather than moving to some type of an assisted living facility. Senior Companions establish friendships with these adults and help them with daily tasks such as shopping, paying bills, running errands, transportation, and simple household chores. Such assistance can also offer family caregivers some respite from the demands of caring for their loved ones.
Senior Companions usually provide between 15-40 hours of service per week and, if income eligible, receive a modest, tax-free stipend to help cover the cost of volunteering. Volunteers also receive pre-service orientation, monthly trainings, reimbursement for transportation expenses, an annual physical examination, and some meals.
Seniors who volunteer with this programs not only support the adult with special needs, the volunteers themselves also benefit from the fulfillment of making a positive impact in their community, establishing friendships, and promoting a positive on life through the value of volunteering. You can find more information on the Senior Companion Program at www.nationalservice.gov.
Karen Flores is a Part-time Staff Attorney for the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors and the Mid-America Pension Rights Project. She first joined ELM in 1995 when it was known as the Legal Hotline For Older Michiganians (LHOM).
After 4 years at LHOM, she left the practice of law to stay home with her children. She returned to ELM in 2013 as a Volunteer Attorney and was hired in August, 2013.
She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Political Science/Pre-Law. After graduating from Cooley Law School, she clerked for Circuit Court in Midland County and also represented clients on appeals of Termination of Parental Rights Orders.