Senior Companion Program Celebrates 30 Years 

A program through UMaine that helps seniors stay connected to the community is marking a milestone, by celebrating three decades of service. “I think it’s one of the most rewarding things my wife and I have ever done.”Bob Mattingly and his wife are volunteers with the Senior Companion Program through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.They get-together with about half-a-dozen other seniors on a regular basis and share one of the greatest gifts they can give – time. “I don’t know how many times one or another of them have said I don’t know what I’d do without you. We don’t do that much, really. We come visit, take them out for ice cream or whatever. but it’s a fun program.”The program is now celebrating 30 years of helping older Mainers through out most of the state. Director Ann Swain says “The senior companions visit folks who are chronically ill or elderly, who are home-bound or isolated and if it were not for the senior companions visiting, they’d most likely be in long-term care.”In the last three decades, the more than 100 companions have logged 85,000 hours of volunteer time.Swain says the ceremony in Orono Friday was designed to honor the volunteers who are at the heart of this program – a program that gives them a sense of purpose, too. “They offer something to the community that truly money would be difficult to buy. You can certainly buy a service for somebody coming in, but you can’t buy a relationship.”Which is one of the greatest gifts the Mattinglys say they’ve received.”We really get to be personal friends with them. It isn’t something we just go and do. We really relate to them.”To find out more about the Senior Companion Program in your area, you can log on to