"In contrast to other programs that target health care beneficiaries, the Experience Corps program is designed to attract all adults, including those less likely to participate in formal health-promotion programs," says Fried. "We show it can lead to meaningful short-term improvement in healthy behaviors for older adults while they, at the same time, offer social capital that is highly valued," says Fried.
While Experience Corps may be expensive for the short-term health improvements it offers volunteers, when potential benefits for students and possible long-term benefits are factored in, the program could be highly cost-effective, say Hopkins researchers.
This study, published in the same issue of the Journal as a companion to the Hopkins pilot study of the health benefits inherent in the Experience Corps program, found cost per volunteer (assuming 500 volunteers were enrolled) was $3,613, or about $7 per hour of volunteer time. Short-term improvements in older adult health resulted in medical care cost savings of $273 per volunteer.