Can you believe we’re already nearing the end of the year? As temperatures drop and the days get shorter, many of us are beginning to research holiday volunteer opportunities for the coming months. This year why not consider volunteering with seniors? As CBS news reports, the holidays can sometimes be especially difficult for the elderly, triggering feelings of loneliness as well as sad personal reflections on people that are no longer around. By spending time with the senior population this holiday, you can help curb some of those negative feelings while also giving back to your community.
Below are three different holiday volunteer ideas, all of which could easily turn into volunteer opportunities for the entire year!
- Provide Nutrition Through Meals on Wheels
Meals on wheels is a well-known community based senior nutrition program with many different affiliates and similar programs in locations across the country. Recently, a few elderly recipients of New York City’s CityMeals were delighted when Kevin Bacon participated in their program. You don’t have to be a celebrity however to make an impact on the lives of the people you visit. By just interacting with the in-need recipients you are delivering food to, you’re providing several psychological benefits to elders! These benefits included lessened feelings of isolation and loneliness which again are a major concern among the elderly during the holiday season. Meals on Wheels is one of those great programs that can be engaging for the entire family.
- Offer Financial Advisement, Through AARP
Assisting with fiscal responsibility may not be the first thing you consider when it comes to volunteer work for the holidays, but for an elderly person living on a fixed income this may be just the type of volunteering that is most useful to them. AARP, in collaboration with the Charles Schwab Foundation, recognizes this need and offers a program where volunteers can assist older adults in managing their budgets, fiscal planning, goal setting, spending, and debt reduction. Part of what makes volunteering with elderly citizens in this way such a great option, is that you don’t need to be a financial professional yourself. Through AARP Foundation Finances 50+, you’ll receive the training you need. Don’t just wait until tax season, help senior citizens with their finances throughout the year.
- Provide Companionship
Sometimes one of the greatest ways to make a difference in the life of a senior citizen is to simply volunteer to spend time with them. A great place to get started is by visiting Volunteer Match and performing a local search for “elderly volunteering.” Depending on your locale, you’ll see lots of great volunteer opportunities aligning with your interests– be it singing, playing games, writing etc. If you happen to be part of the 55+ community yourself consider becoming a senior companion. In this program you’ll assist someone with small tasks that are difficult to manage alone for instance shopping or paying bills, above all you’ll be providing companionship!
Do you volunteer with seniors during the holiday season or throughout the year? What type of volunteer work do you do? What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about your experience? We’d love it if you shared your thoughts in the comments below.