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Senior Companion Provides Variety Of Services In Montana

Action For Eastern Montana has a new Senior Companion Program to help seniors remain int their homes.

A senior companion is a volunteer who provides limited help to other at-risk seniors to help keep them independent. There is no charge to the client for receiving these services from a senior companion.

Examples of services provided include:

•Read/write letters, fill out forms or help with money management

•Go to social events or sporting events

•Provide respite care for family caregivers

•Take the client shopping, lunch outings

•Accompany to doctor appointments •Monitor medications (can’t administrate)

•Assist with walking and exercise

•And much more. In March 1973, Congress authorized the Federal Agency Action to incorporate the Senior Companion Program under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act. The dual purpose of the program was to create part-time stipend volunteer community service opportunities for low-income people 60 years of age and older to provide supportive person-to-person service for the elderly and other adults.

In August 2020, the Area 1 Agency on Aging, located in Glendive, received notification from the Corporation for National and Community Services that their grant to start a Senior Companion Program was approved.

The grant encompasses Custer, Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan and Valley counties.

The program also features the Fort Peck Tribes. In 2023, AEMT expanded the program to include Fallon County. This program will work with other area agencies such as county health departments, hospice, senior centers and tribal services to provide up to clients with services that will enhance their quality of life while assisting them to maintain their independence and therefore prevent the institutionalization of our community.

In 2023, there are 28 senior companions in 14 counties, and AEMT is averaging 50 clients in these counties.

A senior companion must be 55 years or older and meet the income guidelines for the federal grant. The senior companion must pass three background checks, National Sex Offender, a Montana state felony background check and an FBI fingerprint check.

The senior companion receive a stipend of $4 for every hour they volunteer with mileage reimbursement at the federal rate. The stipend encourages them and clients to receive healthy meals. The stipend is not considered income and will not affect the volunteer from receiving any other federal, state or local services or programs.

Senior companions touch the lives of adults who need extra assistance to live independently in their own homes or communities. They serve frail older adults, adults with disabilities, those with terminal illnesses and offer respite care for caregivers. They assist their clients in basic ways such as offering companionship and friendship to isolated and frail adults.

For more information on the program or how to become a senior companion, contact Toni Goroski, Senior Companion Program coordinator at Action for Eastern Montana, at 406-377-4564 or

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