Volunteer Spotlight: Companionship For The Elderly

Our companionship programs carefully match volunteers to seniors living independently in Philadelphia and in facilities throughout the region.

Ranging in age, our volunteers give their time for a number of reasons. Some hope to recreate that special relationship they had with a parent or grandparent. Others visit their elderly friends to listen to and learn from their stories from the past. Every compassionate volunteer, however, shares one common purpose: to befriend a senior who may otherwise be lonely without that go-to person to connect with.

“Their lives are fascinating, and I am lucky to have the opportunity to hear their stories,” said Megan, a student at Villanova University who, through our Dolphin Companions program, has been visiting at a nearby living facility since 2014.

In our Communicare program, volunteers visit seniors aging within their own homes, and they often fill in for lost family or other supports. Along with friendship, volunteers provide shopping assistance, record-keeping, help with correspondence, general problem-solving, and more.

All the while, volunteers receive careful coaching, and dedicated ECS staff check in regularly with both individuals to confirm the pairing is fulfilling. To create stronger bonds between the volunteers and senior participants of both programs, volunteers are purposely paired with only one aging adult. And these one-on-one friendly visits are often the highlight of the week for participating seniors.

“I learn so much from the people I visit, and it is extremely rewarding to see how appreciative they are just to have someone to talk to,” Megan added.

Sign up for or become a volunteer companion. For more information, check out our volunteer opportunities or send us an email at volunteer@ecsphilly.org.

Register for the free Establishing Healthy Boundaries workshop on Saturday, April 29, 10am-12noon, at our main office (225 S. 3rd Street). The workshop is designed to “help volunteers learn how to start establishing healthy boundaries whether it is at home, work, or in a volunteer setting.”