Senior companion program has benefits for both senior and volunteer, says report

Posted at 12:54 PM, Feb 13, 2019

Neli Rubinov makes a visit to 86-year-old Doba Skomarovskaya’s residence weekly to help her run errands. The pair has been doing this routine for nearly a decade.

The two are part of the Senior Companion Program, which pairs volunteers over the age of 55 with seniors who have challenges with daily living tasks. The goal?
To help seniors stay independent longer.

Rubinov also serves as translator for Skomarovskaya, who only speaks Russian. Skomarovskaya says Rubinov is a lifesaver.

Research shows the program is good for volunteers, too. A report sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that after two years of serving in the senior companion and foster grandparent programs, 84 percent of older adults reported improved or stable health. Of those who reported depression symptoms at the beginning of the study, 78 percent said they felt less depressed two years later.

“I love it. I love to wake up in the morning [and] have [a] place to go,” Rubinov says. “I have purpose in life.”

From appointments to grocery shopping, Rubinov is there to help with whatever the day may bring.