PARIS – The Oxford Hills Chapter, AARP, recently presented 20 May gift bags to senior companions to deliver to their homebound clients. The bags were filled with useful and fun items as well as snacks.

The bags were assembled by the members at their April meeting and delivered to the Cooperative Extension office. It is one of the local service projects that the Oxford Hills Chapter is involved in, said President Jan Whittier.

Senior companions are happy to deliver the bags because they know how much their clients enjoy them. All senior companions agree, “Everything is very much appreciated by their clients.”

The companions spend 15 to 20 hours a week doing friendly visits with homebound elderly clients. They provide companionship by taking walks, sharing lunch, reading, writing letters, reminiscing and being a friend.

They also provide respite services for family caregivers. Companions receive a stipend and mileage reimbursement. The Senior Companions Program has been sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for more than 20 years. In Oxford and Androscoggin counties the Extension is partnered with Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice and SeniorsPlus.

More companions are needed in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Those who would like to be a companion should contact Anna Saar at the Oxford County Extension Office at 743-6329 or 1-800-287-1482.

The Oxford Hills AARP Chapter is one of 12 in Maine. It was formed in February 2000 and meets at 1 p.m. on the second Monday at the First Congregational Church, East Main Street, South Paris. New members 50 and over are welcome. For more information, contact Jan Whittier at 583-2685.