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Senior Companions

Senior Companions help the frail elderly and other homebound persons.

Senior Companions offer one-on-one services to those who have difficulty completing everyday tasks. They can assist with:

  • Grocery shopping, paying bills, and telephone calls
  • Applying for benefits
  • Accompanying to medical appointments
  • Providing companionship
  • Alerting doctors and family members to potential health problems

Senior Companions can also provide short periods of relief to primary caregivers. Because of this program, thousands of residents can live with dignity in their own homes.

About the program


The program is open to healthy people age 55 and older with limited incomes. There's also a background check and a telephone interview. You receive pre-services and in-service training on topics including:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • diabetes, and
  • issues related to mental health.

Senior Companions serve an average of 20 hours a week.

Volunteer Benefits

For their service, Senior Companions receive a $3.00 an hour (tax free) reimbursement for:

  • transportation
  • meals, and
  • accident and liability insurance during service.

Serve as a friend and companion to older neighbors making sure they can live in their own homes for as long as possible.

The Boston Senior Companion program focuses on providing assistance and friendship to older adults who have difficulty with daily living tasks, such as shopping or paying bills. Through this program, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers keep seniors living independent longer and provide respite to family caregivers. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers themselves report better health and longevity having served their neighbors and community.

  • Provide in person or virtual companionship to homebound and frail seniors
  • Provide the gift of respite to a caregiver in need of a break

Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be making a difference. Stronger families. Supporting older Bostonians. Safer communities. With the Boston Senior Companion Program you’ll see tangible outcomes and learn firsthand how your contributions help change your community.

Program information

Program information

The program was incorporated by Title II of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act (DVSA). It was designed by that Act, along with the Foster Grandparent Program and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. It was one of the Older American Volunteer Programs (OAVP) administered by the national volunteer agency, ACTION.


ACTION funded 18 model Senior Companion projects.


The program was authorized by amendments to the Domestic Volunteer Service Act to serve homebound, frail older people.


Older American Volunteer Programs were re-authorized as the National Senior Volunteer Corps by the National and Community Trust Act.


Now known as the National Senior Service Corps, the program is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

When asked why she commits so much of her time to helpting others, Senior Companion Petra Santos replies, "Because there are people who need me."

"Being volunteers, we can help the needy people and at the same time, we can use our leisure time constructively, learn something new, make more friends, and get satisfaction. We are very happy about it." — Station Supervisor, David Ko

"With our own heart we do that work, not because of money but because of our community's needs, and we feel helpful to serve them." — Senior Companion, Happy H. Nguyen

"It made me feel so good. Before volunteering, I was shy and nervous. I really didn't think I was going to last that long (as a volunteer). To be a real volunteer you have to have patience, perseverance, compassion, and a sense of humor." — Senior Companion, Jack Peckham

"When I come here to volunteer I come with an attitude of love, smiles, and jokes because that's the type of person I am. I like to be happy." — Senior Companion, Eleanor Armstrong

All Senior Companion volunteers go through life following the words of Booker T. Washington, "If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."

If you're interested in volunteering through the Senior Companion program, please reach out to Quanda Smith at 617-635-4366 or for more information.

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