(T)he 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
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.
CareBreaks 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. Flyer and application below.
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. Any elder (60 + years) or disabled person that is homebound, residing in any elderly care facility (
nursing homes, assisted living or patients at hospitals)
is eligible for this program. There are no income guidelines and there is no fee for this service. Friendly Visitor volunteers are available state-wide. Volunteers have supplied personnel references and passed a background check through the office of the attorney general. 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. This program is funded in Partnership with the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs. Brochure and application below.
Visiting Veterans Corps
A branch of the Neighborhood Friendly Visitor Program, this program is a commitment to camaraderie. The Visiting Veteran Corps is a community-based program that provides visitors, who are former military themselves, to elderly and disabled veterans in Rhode Island. All veterans regardless of their length of service or place of service or their religious affiliation can participate. Visiting Veterans offer support and friendship through face-to-face visits and phone calls, keeping veterans connected to their community, and easing the isolation veterans can often feel. Volunteers check-in with their veteran weekly for about an hour. Visiting Veteran volunteers check in with veterans in their community offering a social outlet. Anyone who served in any branch of the military is eligible for the program.
Brochure and application below.
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. To request a Senior Companion or to apply to be a Senior Companion contact Ana Hanley at the State Division of Elderly Affairs at 401.462.0569 or
St. Martin de Porres 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. The center is open Monday - Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm. Contact information below.
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. If you are an elder or disabled adult living in the Providence area and need assistance, please call or stop by the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center (contact information below). If you are a Rhode Island resident and live outside of the Providence area, you may contact The POINT at 401.462.4444 or email
. This program is funded in part by the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers
Catholic Social Services of RI has trained 16 new Class Leaders who are certified to teach the Powerful Tools for Caregivers Program. The six week classes (1.5 hours each week) provide a self-care education program for family caregivers. The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program will provide you with tools and strategies to better handle the unique caregiver challenges you face.
Caregivers who have completed the program have shown improvement in the following areas:
• Self-Care Behaviors: (e.g. increased exercise, relaxation and medical check-ups)
• Management of Emotions: (reduced guilt, anger, and depression)
• Self-Efficacy: (increased confidence in coping with caregiving demands)
• Use of Community Resources: (increased utilization of local services)
If you would like to attend a Powerful Tools Program please call the agency number listed for the location and time that works for you! Or contact Catholic Social Services of RI, Linda A’Vant-Deishinni at 401/421-7833, ext.228 or email
. Class schedule below.