Interior Senior Companion program seeks volunteers

North Star Council on Aging, Fairbanks Senior Center and Senior Corps are very proud to announce the startup of our local Senior Companion Program. We were awarded a grant which makes this outstanding program possible and are currently rolling out in Fairbanks, closely followed by Delta Junction, and then we will expand to North Pole and Two Rivers.

We are recruiting folks, age 55 and older, to volunteer helping seniors and disabled adults remain in their own homes as long as possible. The volunteers should have an income below $29,680 per year and have 15 to 40 hours per week to help.

The benefits to the volunteers are outstanding. They will receive an hourly stipend of $2.65. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but if you volunteer 20 hours per week you will add $2,756 to your income for the year. There is also a per diem of $12 per meal eaten during their volunteering time (preferably with their client) up to the limit of two per day. If you eat one meal per day for 52 weeks it will be an additional $3,120. Add this all together, you could conceivably bring home an extra $5,000 to $6,000 depending on the number of meals you claim. Add to that mileage reimbursement and vacation, sick, holiday, and bereavement paid time. And it is all non-reportable income. What this means is it does not count for your income tax, housing, food stamps or any other assistance you may receive.

Volunteer services performed through the Senior Companion Grant include: meal preparation (a nice breakfast, lunch or dinner), transportation (to the doctor, grocery store, or to the senior center for congregate lunch and socializing), companionship (something as simple as reading to someone, making a puzzle or playing a board or card game, even just visit with them), light housekeeping (do up some dishes, dust a little, mop a floor, or vacuum), personal care (help them manage their medications, help with walking or washing up), and respite for family caregivers, just to name a few.

We will also provide you with a physical exam, a background check and some of the supplies you will need to carry out your assignments.

So, if you have 15 or more hours during the week and/or weekend and would enjoy sharing some of that time helping a few of your neighbors overcome their challenges, please contact Cheryl LaFollette at (907) 452-1735 today.

You can bring in some additional income while making a valuable difference in a senior’s life.

Cheryl LaFollette is the Senior Companion Program Director, North Star Council on Aging.