Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Volunteer with Seniors

When I was a kid, I used to go to the "old folks' home" with my mother to visit some of the residents.  At the time, I did not understand why she would choose for us to visit with people we did not know or who were not family members.

Blog to Action - Volunteer with Seniors
CC0 image courtesy G. Altmann on Pixabay

I would privately complain to her about how different it smelled there and how some residents seemed to be regularly unhappy about one thing or another.  Despite my complaints, my mother made sure to bring me along as she volunteered to spend time there.  She regularly sat with residents to read a book or the daily newspaper aloud, chat about recent events, or to just listen to a colorful story or two.

I have since come to appreciate those times and other more recent ones that I have spent with seniors in assisted living and nursing homes.  I have learned that many residents are without nearby family or friends due to various life circumstances.  Some are looking for a little extra assistance with daily activities.  Some want someone to share a meal with.  I have found that more often than not that some just want someone to listen to his or her stories about the past.

Volunteering with seniors can help provide a lot more happiness in their lives as well as your own.  For me, I have found listening to personal stories of the past the most rewarding.  In the process of listening I have been entertained, informed, and have heard personal perspectives on history events I had only previously read about.  Many seniors are very happy to share especially if they believe that you may learn from their own past mistakes or successes.  All things considered, I believe that volunteering with seniors can be a very positive experience.  By volunteering, you may also begin to appreciate some aspects of your own life a bit more as a result.

There seem to be very few age restrictions to volunteer with seniors.  Volunteers can be anywhere in between high school age to 55+ years old.  To find opportunities to volunteer, consider contacting local retirement homes or searching for opportunities online at sites like Create the Good (provided by the AARP Foundation) or those listed on the Volunteer Opportunity Networks post.

Share some of your time with seniors in your community today!

UPDATE 10/29/16:  Consider reading "Anxiety Issues Talking with Seniors" also.

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