Senior Companion Program provides numerous services

By | May 10, 2018 9:50 am

With the help of the Senior Companion Program, Van Buren County senior citizens have access to numerous services, and the program continues to provide a vital impact to Van Buren County.

The Senior Companion Program gives the “Gift of Friendship” to those served in Van Buren County and helps allow many older adults to remain in their own homes and maintain their own independence.

“We can help the older adults by supplying transportation to medical appointments, to the pharmacy, grocery store, and other needed appointments,” stated Melba Mooneyham, director of the Senior Companion Program. “We will do light housework, such as washing dishes, light laundry, light meal preparation, and help with errands, and provide medication reminders and other reminders that may be needed. We work closely with any family caregivers to provide what the clients need. In working with the client on a daily basis, we become acutely aware of their needs and can provide information on any changes the client may have.”

The Senior Companion Program came to Van Buren County, in 1974, when A. P. Baker and Albert Jones Jr. saw the need for a program that would provide assistance to the elderly in need. Baker and Jones were instrumental in securing a federal grant to start the program.

Earlier this year, the Senior Companion Program received a federal grant in the amount of $192,000 from the Corporation for National and Community Service. According to Mooneyham, the program is also highly supported by Van Buren County and Van Buren County Mayor Greg Wilson who also serves on the board of directors.

The Senior Companion Program’s Board of Directors is led by Joseph Crosby, who serves as the chairman, Randy Johns as vice-chairman, and Sandra Shotton who serves as secretary. Additionally, Pam Mooneyham, Leon Deweese, and as previously mentioned Greg Wilson are also members of the board.

The Senior Companion Program utilizes senior companions to offer seniors contact with the world outside of their homes and make their lives less lonely.

To be a senior companion, applicants need to be at least 55 years old, be able to volunteer for 20 hours a week, meet federal income guidelines, and love to help your fellow neighbors. Senior Companions receive a small stipend for their service, in-service training, and the joy of helping others live on their own. Applicants don’t need medical or technical skills to be a Senior Companion.

To become a client of the Senior Companion Program, a senior has to have a need. That need could range from having health problems and needing someone to check on you or maybe you are just lonely and elderly and in need of companionship. There is no cost to receive services, and there is no age restriction to receive services.

For those interested in the Senior Companion Program, contact the program director, Melba Mooneyham, at (931) 946-2607. The program office is open Monday-Friday and is located on the bottom floor of the Burritt College building.

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