The Benefits of Volunteering for Seniors
Published on April 26, 2021
After over a year of COVID-related lockdowns, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your family, friends, and community. Volunteering can be a great way to overcome the loneliness and lost sense of purpose that we’re all facing during lockdowns.
There are tremendous benefits for seniors who volunteer in their retirement communities or neighbourhood. Just a few of the benefits include:
1. Reduce loneliness
2. Enhance self-esteem and sense of purpose
3. Develop new skills
4. Meet new people
5. Participate in your community
Volunteering in Retirement Communities During COVID
With so many places turning away visitors and advising residents to stick to a bubble, it can be tough to participate in your community. Fortunately, there are many ways for a creative and active senior to get out there and get involved. Never have there been so many people in need—even if you can just deliver a smile to brighten their day.
Here are a few ways that you can help your community:
1. Organize a food drive for your other seniors in need. If you live in a retirement community, consider partnering with your management team and rallying your fellow neighbours to collect funds or non-perishable food items for other local seniors in need.
2. Your local fire hall may also be collecting food for charity, making it easy to drop off donations.
3. Organize a drive for blankets and towels for a local animal shelter or animal rescue service. Just call first to find out what they need.
4. Organize a used clothing drive to help local charities. Although COVID is a concern, there are so many people who need help now, many local charities are still accepting donations.
Safe Volunteering for Active Senior Living
What makes these activities great for senior volunteers during COVID is you can easily social distance. Have donors drop items off on your porch place items in a bag. Move the donations to a safe place, wash your hands, and don’t touch anything for a few days. Even with the first wave of vaccinations, it’s still important to maintain social distance and wear a mask.
Not Keen on Organizing?
Admittedly, not all of us are eager to organize even small donation drives. It’s okay. You can still volunteer and stay active in your community. Look online at websites for local churches, libraries, charities, homeless shelters, and senior living communities. Although some groups may not be active during the pandemic, keep trying. Volunteering with a larger organization can help you meet new people and give you a chance to contribute your experience and knowledge to projects that will enrich your community.
Given the current pandemic and the need to remain physically distanced, there is another type of volunteering that might be more accessible: armchair volunteering. Armchair volunteering includes activities you can do from the comfort of your own home, such as making phone or video calls to others in your community to help alleviate their loneliness or participating in online forums to help others manage during this difficult time. More charities are turning to these tactics to help their stakeholders, so opportunities should be available in your community.
It’s never been more important for seniors to lend a hand in their communities – school boards are asking retired teachers to increase their supply teaching days, retired nurses and doctors are returning to help in hospitals. There are so many ways to volunteer, especially in active retirement communities. Even something as simple as leaving inspiring notes or flowers for neighbours who miss their loved ones can make a world of difference.