“I just don’t know what I would do without this program”. This is what seniors say about the Senior Companion Program run by the Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) in Holyoke. The program gives seniors the opportunity to maintain their independence. In some cases, the senior companion is the only person that they have left.
Senior Companions provide support to family caregivers by assisting with grocery shopping, medical appointments (only if the elder is unable to use other transportation services), and other daily tasks necessary for maintaining independence. Senior Companions volunteer 15 to 40 hours per week and play a vital role in maintaining an elder’s independence and quality of life. They offer socialization opportunities, moral support, information and referral services, transportation, and friendship.
In 2015, this program served approximately 200 elders in Holyoke, Chicopee and Holland, the majority of which were over the age of 70 and 65% of which receive SNAP benefits. There were 30 companions, all low-income residents of the local community who are dedicated to giving back and helping their neighbors achieve a higher quality of life.
For more information about this program and VOC, please visit the VOC website.