You Area Not Alone: Senior Women Support Senior Friends Program

She is easy to picture: a frail, isolated woman, living alone or taking care of a spouse, homebound and lonely.

Senior Women taking part in the Women’s Fund Power of 10 initiative want to help women like this, by connecting her with a friend, an advocate and the resources of the outside world.

In September, the group awarded a $10,000 grant to the Senior Friends Program of the American Red Cross of East Central Wisconsin. The program works something like Big Brothers Big Sisters for seniors. Participating women are matched with a volunteer, who makes home visits, offering friendship and a connection to the outside world.

The selection was not immediate. Over the course of three late summer meetings, a group of 8 senior women discussed and debated a variety of issues. But, they kept coming back to the need to help those who are isolated and alone, providing friendship and resources.

The $10,000 gift will help the Winnebago County Senior Friends Program ramp up its volunteer recruitment efforts. Currently, elderly women are waiting to be matched with a volunteer visitor who can provide needed companionship. The program target: help twice as many seniors by the end of 2009.

And, that, is exactly what the senior women had in mind.

Submitted by: Brenda Haines, Women’s Fund Board of Directors

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