Senior Companion Program

What is the Senior Companion Program?

For four decades, seniors have been teaming-up with fellow New Yorkers with developmental disabilities to change  lives for the better.

The Senior Companion Program  began in 1979 and pairs seniors 55 years and older with adults with developmental disabilities.

The seniors volunteer as companions and role models, spending as much as 40 hours a week helping people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

Senior Companions assist with daily living, socialization, and community inclusion - whether it is spending time reading, taking a walk, participating in a craft project, trying a new hobby, or exploring the community. 

The Senior Companion Program offers adults with developmental disabilities:

  • Greater community inclusion
  • A helping hand when needed
  • Socialization opportunities
  • A chance to fine-tune their daily living skills
  • A valued friendship.

    The Senior Companion Program has locations conveniently set up all throughout the state of New York, so no matter where you live you can become a Senior Companion!

    Benefits of being a Senior Companion

    Along with the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a difference, Senior Companions receive:

    • A tax-free stipend
    • Paid vacation, sick leave and other benefits
    • A daily meal allowance or a meal
    • Transportation or mileage reimbursement
    • Pre-service and on-going training

    Many seniors say that the relationships they build are their greatest rewards.

    Who can be a Senior Companion?

    Is becoming a Senior Companion right for you?

    Senior Companions must:

    • Be at least 55 years old
    • Be able to volunteer 15-40 hours per week
    • Be income-eligible
    • Love to help people

    Senior companions don’t need medical or technical skills, only a willingness to share their time and talents.

    Contact OPWDD to become a senior companion!



    Being a Senior Companion

    See what seniors have to say about their experiences with being a Senior Companion.

    "I immediately was part of a whole "new family". I found a new purpose for getting up and looking forward to the day ahead"

    -Capital District Senior Companion

    “I feel as though the ‘quality’ of our lives is strengthened by this program. It offers enhancement in their lives as well as mine. It is truly a rewarding experience!”

    – Hudson Valley Senior Companion                                  

    "This program has added meaning to my life.  It gives me something to look forward to everyday"

    - Long Island Senior Companion

    "I have been a Senior Companion for almost 20 years and it is very rewarding.  I look forward each day to putting puzzles together, mingling and just being there for the individuals."

    - Finger Lakes Senior Companion