Senior Peer Counselors provide support services to older adults in San Mateo County for individuals who are isolated, lonely, depressed. They help to empower older adults in processing life changes brought on by age, health and loss.
The 36- hour training program emphasizes listening skills and development, and includes topics such as: changes in physical, mental and sexual capacities of older people; retirement; changes in living arrangements; suicide prevention; basic counseling skills; and county resources. The training is broken down into two, three hours training sessions per week for six weeks. Counselors also attend bi-monthly, clinically supervised meetings amd quartlerly inservice meetings,
After completing the initial training, senior peer counselors usually meet one hour per week with clients. They also attend bi-weekly consultation meetings with their licensed professional supervisor, as well as periodic in-service training seminars. Volunteers are expected to make at least a one year commitment to the program after completing training.
Peninsula Family Service Senior Peer Counseling is a one-on-one service provided by trained volunteers who offer confidential emotional support, guidance and empathy to older adults facing challenges such as loneliness, depression, grief, isolation from family and friends, and life changes.
Senior Peer Counseling develops a special bond of trust between two people who share similar age, experience, values, wisdom, and culture. Rooted on principles of self-help and mutual aid, Peninsual Family Service’s Senior Peer Counseling is available in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino, and to the LGBT community.
Peer counselors help older adults cope with situations that, left unattended, can lead to clinical depression, hopelessness, life-threatening incidents, and accidents.
Support groups are also available.
Volunteers are assigned cases in the area where volunteers live. Ongoing supervision and training are provided. Hours are flexible.
Skills required: be a good listener - be yourself!