‘Tis the Season to Help the Elderly
It’s the time of the year we begin thinking of others. The holiday season open hearts, our calendars, and the wallets. It’s a good time to share our successes. For many individuals who volunteer, they believe it’s through the service given that makes them the person they are today. Research confirms that volunteering is significant for people who give their time freely. Local cities benefit when residents join groups that help give back.
Volunteers contribute to creating a better environment to work and live in, especially when helping older adults. We notice the neighbors living alone, the residents in care facilities and the family members caring for loved ones—but this season let’s offer a helping hand.
Start by checking resources that will guide you to volunteer locally. Check with local non-profits like Meals on Wheels. Here is a Holiday Volunteer Guide designed to make it easy to help seniors in your community. When making the holiday shopping list, be sure to add those in need. Here’s why you want to help the elderly:
- 45% of women over 75 live alone.
- Close to 28% or 12.1 million seniors live alone.
- 21% or one in five Americans age 65 and older do not drive.
- The non-drivers have trouble participating in the community and the economy.
- Hunger threatens over 9 million older adults.
- 1 million homebound seniors are malnourished.
- Elderly suicide rates are high.
- 87% of Americans receive unpaid care at home from family and friends.
Other places to volunteer
Ways to give
- Help with house chores
- Rake leaves
- Offer a ride
- Take them to lunch or a movie
- Provide respite for the family – spend time with their loved one
- Contribute your time helping at the local senior center or residential care facility
- Be a companion
- Serve meals or snacks – bring them cookies or fresh fruit
- Give a gift basket
- Call and visit with them on the phone
- Send a card
- Give flowers
- Take their dog for a walk
- Bring your well-behaved dog for a visit(make sure you are insured)
- Teach them to use Skype so they can connect with people who live away
- Ask about their life and record it for their family as a memento
When using the holiday guide, you’ll have a variety of volunteer options. Now is the season for giving, connecting with family, sharing meals, and making special memories. However, that’s not the experience of the elderly; their holidays are spent alone. They don’t have others around who could create moments of joy and goodness. It’s the volunteers in the local community that give back and increase an elderly’s well-being plus form new friendships.
Carol Marak is a contributor for the senior living and healthcare market.