Care-Giving Program Illuminates Volunteers' Motivations

Demonstration of a community-wide service credit banking program

United Seniors Health Cooperative established the Cooperative Care Network (CCN), a computerized service credit bank in the greater Washington area, to increase the availability of services for the elderly and the disabled living in their homes.

Volunteers were called upon to perform a variety of helpful services, including grocery shopping, telephone reassurance, and friendly visits. In turn, the volunteers received redeemable credit for services that they themselves might need later.

Key Results

  • Through membership fees of individual volunteers, clients, and member agencies, it was intended to become self-sufficient within six years.

  • Because of a variety of implementation difficulties, the grantee was forced to scale back significantly.

  • Although the network enrolled almost 30 agencies with over 2,000 volunteers and funneled over 30,000 hours of requested service per year, these numbers did not meet pre-established benchmarks, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation did not renew its support.

  • Articles on this project have appeared in several journals on retirement and aging.