Volunteers sought for senior companion team

Helen Hilliker

The Phelps County Senior Companion Program is seeking volunteers for the program. 

The program provides meaningful retirement opportunities for people 55 years old and older by assisting other adults and seniors who need person to person support due to loneliness, illness or disability.

The program seeks to touch the lives of adults who need extra assistance to live independently in their homes or communities, and serve frail older adults, adults with disabilities, those with terminal illness and offer respite for caregivers. 

Senior companions assist adult clients in basic but essential ways — offering companionship and friendship, isolated and frail adults, providing transportation and adding richness to their client’s lives. 

Senior Companions receive a monthly stipend to compensate them, which does not change or impact their income status.  

The program needs six volunteers to join the team in Phelps County. 

Individuals interested in becoming a member of the organization, should call 573-458-6180

Senior companions are recognized in a variety of ways. 

One way is the Senior Companion of the Month articles that are published every month, to share with the community the lives of its volunteers. 

Their June Senior Companion of the Month volunteer is Helen Hilliker from Newburg. Hilliker was born and raised in St. Louis, and attended Normandy High School in 1967.

After high school, Hilliker married and moved to Rolla, and took a secretary position.

In 1972, Hilliker divorced and moved to Indianapolis with a friend and lived there for 20 years.  

And in 1998, she moved back to Newburg to raise her son.  

She says, “ I have not had an exciting life. I worked at the  Rawlings Factory in Newburg to pay the bills.  I was a mom.  That was very important to me.“

“I became a Senior Companion in 2016 and found it very rewarding.This program is such a blessing to the community and is very needed in this rural area. I enjoy hearing my client’s stories of war times and of their many different lifestyles. I get as much pleasure doing for them as they enjoy from me. “

Hilliker had two brothers and one sister. She enjoys early morning canoe rides, gardening, bike riding, yard work and reading mystery novels. 

As Senior Companion of the Month, Hilliker received a floral arrangement donated by Blossom Basket Florist and a $10 Sinks gift card.

The Senior Companion Program is sponsored by the Phelps County Commission, funded by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service — now known as AmeriCorps Seniors —  as well as several local groups and individuals. 

Residents who know a Phelps County resident who might benefit from the services of a Senior Companion or someone who is 55 or older who would like to become a Senior Companion, can call 573-458-6180 for further information.