A Day in SDC’s Senior Companion Program

If you happen to hear jazz coming from Bob’s apartment, there’s a good chance Joe, the SDC senior companion is there. On this day, the gentlemen sit in Bob’s cozy, sun-filled apartment listening to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. With an appreciation for arguably the best trumpeter ever, the men close their eyes. There’s no small talk – just the joy that comes with comfortable companionship.

Some days they listen to music. Most days include Bob’s passion for poetry which helps him manage the range of emotions that come when living with an often disabling disease, Multiple Sclerosis.  Bob was diagnosed several years ago.

So this visit is about more than the love of music, poetry or even friendship.  It actually promotes good health.

According to researchers, social isolation and loneliness contribute to poor life quality and health issues among older adults. SDC’s senior companion program is a solution helping many seniors stay healthy and home.

The Senior Companion program matches companions (age 60 and older) with elderly individuals who may be homebound, alone or at risk of institutional placement. By taking care of simple chores, providing transportation to medical appointments, and offering contact to the outside world, SDC’s Senior Companions provide services that frail, elderly people need to live independently.

“At first it was something to do,” Senior Companion Joe says. “I always tried to help people – simply because I can and they can’t. I like doing things to make people feel good about themselves and their environment.”

SDC’s Senior Companion program also gives caregivers like Bob’s wife, Cris a break too.

“It’s been very good to have Joe here because I can get away and do something that I like to do,” Chris says. “It’s one day that I get to go to the library because I love to read too.”

Meanwhile, in the house, Bob and Joe dig deeper into the poetry pile.

“That was a free-verse!” exclaims Joe.  Do you have a sonnet? ” Bob ruffles through some papers and pulls out another poem. This time he pulls a sonnet written for his wife. When he’s finished reading out loud, Bob looks up at Joe and flashes a big grin. Joe gives a nod of approval. For a magical moment, it seems Bob’s physical limitations are gone.

This was a good day.

And they frequently are when a companion comes to visit.