Stories of Service
Giving Back to Others
Senior Companions - Newaygo County
Finding a way to pay for long-term care services is a growing concern for older adults, other persons with disabilities, and their families. According to the 2015 Genworth Financial cost of care survey, the average cost of assisted living in Michigan is $3,250 per month ($39,000 annually). Most residents pay out-of-pocket for assisted living and similar residential care communities. Senior Companion volunteers help delay the need for assisted living homes by providing clients free in home companionship and transportation.
Senior Companions offer assistance and friendship to seniors who have difficulty with daily living tasks, such as shopping or are isolated at home. The program aims to keep seniors independent longer, and provide assistance to family caregivers.
Roger Lindsey, a Senior Companion through Catholic Charities of West Michigan, did not know the extent of the need of older adults in Newaygo County until his wife started to volunteer as a Senior Companion. “I signed up after talking to my wife about how many men need a senior companion. There aren’t a lot of guys that step up,” explains Roger, “there is a big need for more guys to become Senior Companions”.
Roger’s favorite part of being a Senior Companion is taking one of his clients grocery shopping once a week. “He is in a wheelchair and he didn’t have anyone who could put his chair in their car, so he wasn’t able to get out of the house.” Now he and Roger are able to go shopping together. “He looks forward to it every week, just to go out in public and interact with people is a big deal for him.”
Roger is someone the client can count on to be there. He is a wonderful asset to the Senior Companion Program. He makes a huge difference in the life of his clients every week. Roger says that helping his clients and brightening their day is rewarding. There are benefits for those he serves, but it also gives Roger a reason to get out of the house now that he’s retired. “I get along with them and when the weather is good we’ll go for walks.”