Longitudinal Study of Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs: Service Delivery Implications and Health Benefits to the Volunteers

Program/Intervention: 
Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and Senior Companion Program (SCP)
Summary: 
Senior Corps provides national service opportunities for adults age 55 and older with low incomes through its Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and Senior Companion Program (SCP). These programs leverage volunteers’ skills and experience and address some of the nation’s most pressing challenges.
 
Study Goals:
This study has three objectives:
  1. To describe the demographic profile, knowledge of national service, and motivation for volunteering among first-time FGP and SCP volunteers.
  2. To assess retention, satisfaction, and engagement with FGP and SCP.
  3. To examine how participation in national service contributed to changes in self-rated health and well-being.
Findings:
The study found the following:
  • Senior Corps volunteers reported significantly higher self-rated health scores compared with older adults in similar circumstances who do not volunteer, and a significant number of Senior Corps volunteers showed stable health.
  • 32% of volunteers who reported good health at baseline reported improved health at the two-year follow-up, and 55% of volunteers who reported good health at baseline continued to report good health at the two-year follow-up.
  • After two years of volunteering with Senior Corps, 78% of those who reported more than five symptoms of depression at the beginning of the study said that they felt less depressed two years later.
  • 88% of those who first described a lack of companionship said they felt less isolated after two years.
For more information, download the final report, research brief, fact sheet, one-page overview, and infographic.
 
CNCS Program(s): 
Senior Corps
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Healthy Futures
Age(s) Studied: 
55+ (Older adult)
Researcher/Evaluator: 
JBS International
Year Published: 
2018
Date Posted Online: 
February 5, 2019
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