The Senior Companion Program provides individuals with limited incomes to remain physically and mentally active while providing friendship and assistance to other seniors who need extra help with daily living activities. Through providing transportation, making a meal, helping with light chores, or simply providing companionship, Senior Companion volunteers help their clients to continue living independently while building lasting, meaningful relationships that are mutually beneficial. See the list of Senior Companion Program activities.
The Senior Companion program was founded in 1976 to serve senior citizens in the Waterloo area. Grant funding allows up to 64 men and women to serve, offering companionship and support to many seniors in the Black Hawk and Buchanan counties. Hawkeye provides administrative and in-kind financial support as the sponsoring agency.
The Senior Companion Program is a part of the federally funded Senior Corps program that encourages more than half a million Americans, age 55 or older, to use their skills, talents, and experience to meet the community's needs in education, the environment, public safety, homeland security and other areas.
Becoming a Senior Companion
- 55 years of age or older
- Able to volunteer 15 hours a week
- Pass state and federal background checks
- Meet income eligibility guidelines
To meet the income guidelines you must be under 200% of federal poverty guidelines. For example, a single person can have a gross income of $1,961 per month or less to qualify. A two-person household can have a gross income of $2,655 per month or less to qualify. Out of pocket medical expenses can be deducted from the gross income to qualify.
Senior Companions are compensated for their time and service so they can provide service without additional cost to themselves.
- Tax-free stipend of $2.65 per hour
- Mileage reimbursement
- Meal reimbursement
- Paid training, paid days off, and paid holidays
Senior Companion Program Application for Volunteering [pdf]
Senior Companion Volunteer Training
Approved applicants are required to complete Senior Companion Orientation, a 40-hour pre-service training. Training will include information about community resources, health and safety, communication skills, and program policies and procedures. Trainees will also be able to shadow a current companion.
Monthly in-service meetings, held the first Thursday of every month, are also a requirement of the program. In-service meetings include informational presentations from a variety of community organizations and services, updates regarding program guidelines, an opportunity to socialize with other companions, and meals.