Helping The Elderly
Aging can be a difficult time for many people: they may feel lonely, have financial stress, or medical issues. Many seniors rely on the help of family and friends as they get older. But some elderly individuals may not have this option. They need the help of people who volunteer their time to boost their spirits and aid them with basic tasks. You can volunteer to help the elderly by contacting local and national volunteer groups and working in a local elder care facility.
Method 1: Locating Volunteer Opportunities
Speak with local authorities. Your community likely has elderly individuals who could use things such as a simple conversation, purchasing them groceries, or taking them to doctors’ appointment. Asking local authorities such as community services centers, medical professionals, or departments of aging can point you to volunteering opportunities to help the elderly.
Some places you may want to contact include:
Departments for the Aging
Join a group or organization. In addition to local authorities, there are many private organizations that also provide services to the elderly. These often need volunteers to help with the elderly in your community and beyond. Some of the organization with which you may want to volunteer include:
The Red Cross
Volunteers of America
Work at a local senior living community. Your local area probably has senior living communities such as assisted living and nursing facilities. These are also great places to volunteer your time to help the elderly. Contact local senior living community staff to ask how you can volunteer to help the elderly in their facility.
Recognize the difference between assisted living and nursing communities. Assisted living communities offer help with a limited number of activities of daily living. This may include dressing, bathing, eating or using the restroom. Nursing care facilities provide round-the-clock medical attention.
Locate a senior living community in your area at http://www.seniorliving.org/.
Go through the application process. Organizations, government agencies, and private care facilities will generally require that you apply to volunteer in their community. This is to ensure the safety of the elderly from persons who may try to take advantage of them. If you want to volunteer to help the elderly, undergo the application process and get started. Your application and/or hiring process may include:
Written or electronic application
Donate money to an elderly cause. You may not be able to give much time to volunteering but still want to help the elderly. An excellent way to do this is to donate money to an organization that helps seniors. In some cases, you may be able to specify how you would like your donation spent, such as for games or food.
Method 2: Offering Services on Your Own
Visit with the elderly. You may not want to go through formalized volunteering. Instead, you can volunteer to help those elderly individuals you know. Many elderly people experience loneliness or simply want to share their experiences in life. Taking some time to visit with an elderly family member, friend, or neighbor is a great way to volunteer to help the elderly.
Go to the person’s home and do activities you both enjoy. You could watch a movie or TV show, do crossword puzzles, play board games, or even just sit and talk.
Take the person to a café, the movies, or another place if they are able. This helps get the person out of their house while spending some quality time with you. Even a walk around the neighborhood is an enjoyable way to volunteer your time.
Bring meals. Many older adults do not get proper nutrition and develop malnutrition. One way to cheer up your elderly loved ones, friends, and neighbors is to cook them a meal or meals that they can enjoy. This not only helps the person get proper nutrition and brings them joy, but may also help financially.
Ask the person what types of food they like. Cook them healthy alternatives to ensure they get proper nutrition.
Bring healthy snacks and desserts for the person to enjoy.
Consider cooking at the person’s house and staying to enjoy a meal together. This provides the person some company and vital nutrition.
Help out around the house. Many seniors continue to live at home as they age. They may need a handyman to help with things around the house. This gives you the opportunity to not only volunteer to help the person, but may also provide some welcome company. Some things you can do to help an elderly individual around the house include:
Fixing little things
Tending to the garden and raking leaves
Shoveling the driveway in winter
Drive the elderly to needed places. Some seniors no longer have the ability to drive. Volunteering to drive an elderly individual to appointments, shopping, or just to take in local sites can help them get much needed services, leave the house, and have a bit of company and enjoyment.
Schedule a set time every week to drive a senior or seniors to places they need. Consider taking the person out for lunch for some extra quality time.
Offer to run errands for the person if they are unable to leave the house or a senior living community. They may need prescriptions, groceries, or just want a meal from a local restaurant.
Method 3: Organizing Events and Activities
Collect mp3 players. Music can benefit any senior. It may be especially beneficial for the elderly with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Organize a donation drive to collect new or lightly used mp3 players. You can either present these to elderly individuals you know or donate all of the devices to local facilities that aid seniors.
Ask for donations of gift cards for music if your donors do not have mp3 players they can spare.
Invite local business to make donations or sponsor the event. This may invite further interest in the event or get your program some much-needed donations.
Host a senior exercise event. Activity can help the elderly stay or get healthy. Different types of physical activities, including walking and swimming, can help the elderly maintain their health or even heal more quickly. Organizing an event for the elderly that focuses on physical activity can not only benefit their health and well-being, but may also introduce them to new people.
Ask a local fitness center or school to host your event. This gives you a chance to offer different types of activities. Set up fun things persons of any activity level can enjoy. This may include obstacle courses, games such as cornhole, a pool party, and a selection of snacks that allow people to mingle.
Enlist the help of local businesses in donating services, products, or even prizes.
tart a computer learning program. In the digital age, knowing how to use a computer can expand a person’s world. For seniors, it may be a way to travel, connect with family and friend, and entertain themselves.
Ask a local facility, such as a library, or even senior center if you can use their equipment to teach the elderly how to use a computer. You could even volunteer to use your own laptop to work with individuals.
Consider enlisting the help of a computer specialist (if you’re not already one) to instruct senior on things such as connecting with people, reading books or watching favorite shows, as well as how to avoid scams that target seniors.
Throw a community-wide holiday bash. The holidays can be an especially difficult time for many elderly persons. They may feel especially lonely. Look into using a local facility, such as a church or senior center, to throw a festive holiday bash that anyone in your community can attend.
Ask for friends, family, or other interested people to volunteer to decorate and throw the party. Businesses are often willing to donate resources such as food, party supplies, and even presents if you mention their name.
Remember that not every person holds religious beliefs. Keep the party cheerful and festive without putting emphasis on religious, political, or other beliefs.