Start Volunteering with Seniors
“The interior joy we feel when we have done a good deed is the nourishment the soul requires.” — Albert Schweitzer
If you are someone who enjoys working with seniors, sharing stories, discovering history, and cultivating relationships, our aging population may provide the perfect volunteer opportunities you are searching for. Volunteering feeds the soul and enriches the life of lonely seniors. Whether you connect with an elderly neighbor or volunteer with a local organization, the impact of spending a couple of hours a week with a senior could be life-changing.
Many seniors become isolated as they age due to mobility issues, or the loss of friends and family. They could benefit from a visit with a new friend! As a volunteer socializing with seniors, you get the opportunity to learn about someone’s life in a time very different from your own. The senior gets the opportunity to share life lessons and beloved memories. Social interactions may also lower the risk of dementia and anxiety in seniors that stems from loneliness.
Some senior centers have programs that provide companionship for isolated seniors in the neighborhood. If you’re a member of a religious organization, the staff may know of a senior member who needs some assistance.
If there’s a senior in your neighborhood who lives alone, they may need help in the kitchen. You can volunteer to cook for them at their house or bring them meals throughout the week, providing them with the good nutrition they may be lacking.
If you’re able to take on a bigger commitment, Meals on Wheels provides seniors with nutritious meals, safety checks, and the socialization many of them living alone need. As a volunteer, you’ll receive a route where you’ll deliver meals to your seniors, becoming a face they trust and look forward to seeing.
Many seniors need assistance getting around when it’s no longer safe for them to get behind the wheel. If you’re aware of a senior in your neighborhood who could use some help getting around town, check in and see if you can take them to the store with you, or drive them to an appointment.
Additionally, there are programs like Washington’s Sound Generations Volunteer Driver program that allows you the opportunity to connect with a senior and help them run errands.
Volunteering in Assisted Living
Assisted living communities tend to have activity programs to keep residents active and healthy. Aegis Living’s robust Life Enrichment program develops a calendar around the needs of the residents. By creating unique opportunities for seniors to relish a hobby they love, they develop friendships with their neighbors who share similar interests. Lend your talents! If you’re a skilled painter, find out how you can volunteer with an art class. If you enjoy leisurely walks, volunteer to facilitate a walking club. Even something as simple as playing Scrabble can make someone’s day.
Volunteering has great mental and physical benefits for the seniors as well. If you know a senior who could benefit from doing volunteer work or is passionate about a cause and wants to give back to their community, find something you can do together. Not only will it strengthen your bond, but it will provide the senior with a sense of purpose they may no longer feel in retirement. Several organizations match seniors with volunteer opportunities, like Senior Corps, and AARP Foundation Experience Corps.
If you have a child or teen, who could use some community service hours or needs a good afternoon activity that doesn’t involve video games, sign them up to help a senior in your neighborhood. Seniors who still live independently may have a hard time with laborious tasks like yardwork or lifting and moving items. Not only will your child have the chance to help someone out, but they’ll learn valuable life lessons in the process.
Volunteering connects you to others, increasing your social and relationship skills and broadens your network. It can help to combat depression and increase self-confidence. A volunteer position could even lead to a new job opportunity!
Aegis Living communities always welcome volunteers. If you’re interested in spending some time with our residents, contact a General Manager or Life Enrichment Director at your nearest Aegis Living location to see how you can give back.