In December, Senior Companions in Chisago County were honored for their dedicated service to their peers. Foster Grandparents were honored as well. Both services are part of the National Corporation for National and Community Service and sponsored in Minnesota by Lutheran Social Service.
Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions honored in this area include Shirley Carlson – Rush City and Del Gralish – Chisago City.
Senior Companions, age 55 or older, help frail seniors remain at home and independent by offering companionship, grocery shopping assistance and transportation to medical appointments. Foster grandparents, also 55 or older, provide special tutoring and one-to-one mentoring to children in schools.
In 2010, more than 350 Senior Companions statewide provided 259,000 hours of service to 2,214 frail elders. A majority of those receiving support were able to remain living independently and avoid costly nursing home care. 410 Foster Grandparent volunteers provided more than 313,000 hours of mentoring and tutoring to 2,965 children, helping them to boost their reading ability and academic performance.
Volunteers serve a minimum of 15 hours per week and receive a modest tax-free stipend and mileage reimbursement. The programs are supported with grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Minnesota Board on Aging, as well as support from local counties, United Ways and partner organizations.
For more information on senior volunteer opportunities, please contact the Lutheran Social Service Senior Corps Office at 651-310-9440.