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Volunteering For Senior Citizen Care
December 31, 1969
Let’s face it: Not all of us can have the perfect grandparents that always seem to have the homemade chocolate chip cookies and hugs that television and movie families have made us covet. Want a shot at another group of elderly individuals you can love and call family? Volunteering for senior citizens may be the right task for you!
Young adults often overlook volunteering for senior citizen care while considering projects overseas, but the field allows you a variety of experiences, both at home and abroad. Seniors are a precious part of our world, having experienced parts of the world’s history that we will never have the opportunity to fully understand. Seniors deserve our respect, assistance, and love.
What to Expect
Volunteers that work for the care of senior citizens can expect an impactful, fulfilling experience that leads to lasting, meaningful relationships, a brighter outlook on life, valuable life lessons, positivity, and more. Volunteers gain as much as those they serve by providing regular assistance and loving care to those in need of company, support, and assistance.
Also—expect a great deal of advice! Senior citizens have experienced much in life, and may be a fountain of advice on education, careers, love, and just about everything else! Volunteers are always expected to be upbeat, friendly, and positive, so put on a smile and make a difference—especially if that person is under hospice care. Volunteers range in age and life experiences—from teenagers to fellow senior citizens.
Types of Volunteering with Senior Citizens
Senior citizens, depending on their physical health, age, and willpower, require different kinds of attention and assistance. The greatest difference in ways one can volunteer for senior citizens is in whether or not the seniors are residents of a nursing home or other type of group home.
For those who live in group homes, volunteers can take on a great number of tasks and play important roles in the functioning of the homes—assisting not only the elderly, but the staff who assist them daily as well. Volunteers that assist group homes are oftentimes charged with leading daily group activities, such as arts and crafts, fitness and exercises, book clubs, and playing cards, board games, or checkers.
Outside of a group home, volunteers often deliver groceries, mow lawns, or help with gardening, assist with pets (walking, vet trips, and more) and even taking walks with your new grandparent(s). Activities done in group homes are also popular.
If you seek a one-on-one volunteer project, whether inside or outside of the group home, reading to a senior, having scheduled chats, sharing jokes, and teaching them how to use a computer or other new technology are also popular activities.
Other fun ideas that may not be common, but that can have a great impact on your overall volunteer experience with the elderly, include bringing in a group of friends with you to sing old favorite tunes, putting on a talent show, holding a dance class or contest, and trading favorite pick-up lines.
Where to Volunteer
If the local nursing home is full of volunteers or you seek a different experience, other organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Association, Goodwill Industries, Foster Grandparent Program/Adopt a Grandparent Program, Meals on Wheels, Older Women’s League, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the local hospice, and several other organizations are always looking for volunteers who seek the opportunity to serve the elderly.
And remember—seniors are a great proportion of the world’s volunteer core, so be open to volunteering not only for seniors, but with them as well! Volunteer projects popular with senior citizens include working with children, assisting in libraries, foster-grandparent programs, national park service, and more!
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons.