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Georgia Southern University Senior Companion Program awarded three more years of funding through grant

Center for Social Gerontology Director Adrienne Cohen, Ph.D., and Senior Companion Program Coordinator Deb Blackburn received three more years of funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in support of the Georgia Southern University Senior Companion Program (GSUASCP).

The grant will provide $498,420 in support over the next three years to continue the program. Blackburn said they are ready to put the money to use.

“Our grant renewal for the Senior Companion Program through the Center for Social Gerontology is a reflection of the service Georgia Southern University is able to provide for the health needs of our aging population,” she said. “As a Center, we look forward to providing more services in the future.”

The mission of the GSUASCP is to provide a high quality volunteer experience that will enrich the lives of the volunteers while helping homebound, older adults and individuals with disabilities maintain their dignity and independence in their own home.

Volunteers, known as senior companions, assist clients in basic but essential ways, including supervision for those who wander or are bed-bound, offering companionship and friendship to isolated and frail adults, assisting with simple chores to maintain living conditions, helping those with limited transportation, and assisting with meals.

“This grant provides an avenue to promote the health of our aging population,” Blackburn said. “CNCS funds an opportunity for low-income people over 55 years of age to volunteer. Research has shown that volunteering helps with wellness. The spectacular thing about this grant is as caregivers the companions help homebound people in the community maintain their wellness too.”

Senior companions care for adults in Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Emanuel, Effingham, Evans, Jenkins, Screven and Tattnall counties. Senior Companions are matched with clients according to needs, abilities and distance. Senior Companions serve 15 to 40 hours per week and earn tax-free hourly, meal and mileage stipends.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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