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J Gerontol Soc Work. 2006;47(1-2):45-70.

Evaluating the Senior Companion Program: a mixed-method approach.

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School of Social Work, University of Maine, 5770 Social Work Building, Orono, ME 04469-5770, USA.


This article reports on a mixed-method assessment of the Senior Companion Program (SCP), a federal program which provides volunteer opportunities with small stipends to low-income older adults, 60 years of age and older, who provide companionship and offer assistance to frail community elders. Through four standardized scales and open-ended questions regarding the impact of the SCP in their lives, 34 Senior Companion volunteers and 32 of their clients were interviewed. Informants reported relatively large social networks and low levels of depression and loneliness. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data revealed the benefits of the program for both volunteers and their clients. Themes emerging from the rich narratives included: companionship, independence, reduced anxiety, giving, and rewards. The article concludes with a suggested brief evaluation instrument that directors of SCP programs, and other similar programs, can use to collect data on the impact of their program--something that is required, but often difficult to do.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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