Volunteering with Older People

May 7th 2016

Spending time volunteering for a good cause, be it charity fundraising or conservation, is becoming increasingly popular these days and is an excellent way to make friends and give back to the community. One of the largest growing areas for volunteering is with older people. This rewarding experience can be accomplished in several creative ways:

Offer Your Most Precious Asset: Your TIme

One of the biggest difficulties facing the senior age group is loneliness and isolation. This is particularly so following bereavement when a partner is left alone or when they live in a different part of the country than their family. So how well do you know the people in your own neighborhood? Is there someone living down the street who might benefit from a chat over coffee or assistance around the home? Even in a retirement community or residential home, there may be someone who never gets visitors. By giving just an hour of your time per week, you could make a huge impact on another individual's life.

Assist With Daily Needs

One of the best ways of volunteering with the elderly is to assist them with everyday chores. Get in touch with a nursing home near you, and ask about any assistance they could use conducting their day-to-day operations. If you have elderly neighbors, consider taking their dog for a long walk or helping them maintain their lawn. During the winter, keeping snow and ice off paths is a huge help to an elderly individual. 

Start a Club

There are plenty of lunch clubs for the elderly that are always looking for volunteers to assist with the production of food and other operations. Merely offering your presence could brighten up someone's day. If there aren't organized lunch clubs in your area, consider starting one at a community center for the elderly neighbors. Clubs can be hobby-specific as well, such as quilting, fishing, reading or music. Having a volunteer coordinate things makes all the difference, both to the retirement communities and to the lives of elderly. 

Volunteer in Retirement Communities

There are lots of things that volunteers can do to bring joy to a retirement community.  The home or community will be able to advise you on suitable activities for volunteers, but don't be afraid to think outside of the box. If you belong to a community group, such as a choir or music group, consider bringing the group to a retirement community for some entertainment.

Get Involved with Activities and Skills

Helping the elderly get out and about can be very rewarding. There are a wide range of activities that can make all the difference to an older person. Teaching basic IT skills, like helping them e-mail a grandson or granddaughter, is just one, and learning to text can help with communication as well. There are sports activities for the elderly, too, where volunteers are always welcome. Some options include swimming, as well as walking groups. A sports center and the city authority will be able to advise you on what opportunities are available and how to get involved. 

There are many ways to volunteer and make a difference in an elderly individual's life. Battling with loneliness and trying to remain independent are challenges that many elderly people face, however, by helping in small ways, a volunteer can make a big difference in the daily life of a senior citizen. For a truly rewarding experience, get started volunteering with the elderly today.

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