The teaching and language of the Bible present old age as a ‘favourable time’ for bringing life to its fulfillment and, in God’s plan for each person, as a time when everything comes together and enables us better to grasp life’s meaning and to attain ‘wisdom of heart.’ – Pope John Paul II

Caring for loved ones as they advance in age can present a wide variety of challenges. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s Elder Services programs are designed to provide assistance that restores dignity and independence to elders and ease the burden of care on families. Elder Services can assist the elderly and their families with everything from navigating the services available in the community to providing hands-on assistance.

Elder services through the Diocese of Providence include:

Information Referral
Provides information and referrals by phone for the elderly, family members and caregivers. The diocese can help to determine clients’ needs and provide information about referrals to appropriate diocesan, state, and social service providers.

Neighborhood Friendly Visitor Program
A community-based volunteer program that provides weekly visitors to isolated elderly and disabled adults in Rhode Island.  The program was developed in 1978 by Sister Rhea Lachapelle of the Sisters of Saint Ann to address the needs of a growing and diverse population of elderly living alone with little or no social support.  Today, Friendly Visitor volunteers visit the homebound, reside in nursing homes, assisted living or patients at hospitals. The program has on-going recruitment of volunteers who make a commitment to visit or call the elderly for at least one hour each week.  Please click here for more information.

Respite Services Caring for a loved one can often be overwhelming, so the CareBreaks program offers the gift of time.  CareBreaks is a way to provide unpaid caregivers a short term break from the daily responsibility of caring for a disabled child, adult, or elder loved one.  CareBreaks may be used occasionally or at regularly scheduled times.   This gives the caregiver time to shop, get medical care, attend to personal matters, rest, vacation, etc.  Please click here for more information.

Senior Companion Program
Sponsored by the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs and federally funded by the Corporation for National & Community Service, senior companions are over the age of 55 and provide companionship and reassurance with seniors and adults with special needs. Companions visit, listen, comfort, help and encourage clients to maintain as much independence as possible.  Presently, the diocese has senior companions serving a number of seniors in the community.  Please click here for more information.

St. Martin dePorres Center
Designated a “Focal Point on Aging”, the senior day center is recognized statewide and nationally as an important resource for information on issues relating to the elderly population.  Staff are available to guide older adults through the often complex social service maze to locate resources such as Social Security, SSI, Medicaid, SNAP (Food Stamps), Pharmaceutical Assistance and subsidized housing.  Much needed information and advocacy is also provided to the Latino community through a Hispanic outreach worker.  St. Martin de Porres Center is also a place where older people can enjoy life.  The center’s program coordinator develops and implements activities for “today’s” seniors such as computer classes, physical fitness classes and craft classes.  For more information, please click here.

SHIP – Senior Health Insurance Program
Volunteers are trained to assist older adults and those with disabilities understand health care costs and coverage and deal with issues regarding health care. SHIP volunteers provide one-to-one counseling to seniors, adults with disabilities, families and caregivers and discuss topics like Medicare, Medicare drug plans, supplemental insurance, Medicare Advantage plans, over insurance, free and reduced-cost medical care programs, federal retiree health insurance, Veterans benefits and long-term care insurance and other programs.  For more information, please click here.

Contact Information:
One Cathedral Square
Providence, RI 02903