Dawn C. Carr, PhD MGS, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Faculty Associate, Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, Florida State University
Annie Georges, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate and Wenson Fung, Ph.D., Research Associate, JBS International, Inc.
Deborah Cox-Roush, Director of Senior Corps, CNCS
CNCS recently launched two longitudinal studies – one sample included volunteers in the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs; a second sample included caregivers who receive respite from Senior Companions. This webinar shares findings from both studies, which show the strength of these programs to support overall health of adults and the opportunities to expand and strengthen these programs.
Volunteering is associated with better health outcomes among adults. A previous CNCS evaluation suggested further research is needed to assess the differential impact of national service on health outcomes. The webinar will discuss volunteers’ motivation, experience with training and support, and differential impact on volunteers’ health after joining national service. Results show volunteers are motivated for altruistic reasons whether they persist with the program or not; there are positive effects on volunteers’ health following national service for those who stayed in the program. These positive effects do not appear to be due to healthier individuals staying in the program, as the results show no significant differences in initial health between individuals that left and those that stayed.
The study on caregivers identified three groups of caregivers based on their level or degree of need for respite service using survey responses about expectations and reasons for seeking respite services. Results show most caregivers were satisfied with the respite support from their Senior Companions, and reported the respite support met or exceeded their expectations. There were no differences in the distribution of hours of respite support caregivers received irrespective of their need. However, most caregivers whose needs for respite support were identified as critical reported substantive benefits from receiving these services. The results show improvement in health, especially among those with poorer rating of their health at the time they sought respite support.