Many seniors want to revitalize their social lives, bridge generation gaps, and help others. Having meaningful involvement in a community is one of the best ways to accomplish these things. Volunteering also provides aging adults with flexible schedules that still allow time for themselves.
There are countless ways that seniors can become involved with others in their local community. From working with local youth to cleaning a beloved park, these activities may not only enrich your life, but add to the strength of your community.
Keeping Your Parks Green and Clean
Local parks usually offer volunteer opportunities involving maintaining community property. If yours doesn’t already have a “beautification program,” start one yourself! You and some friends can volunteer to plant flowers, trim shrubs, and clean up the park to maintain a clean and friendly environment for your community.
If you’re not physically able to do lawn work, you can still help by creating outdoor crafts to decorate the park, such as painting pots for plants. Contact your township’s parks and recreation department to learn on how to get involved.
Shaping the Minds of Young Learners
Scientific studies have found that seniors who read often can gain many benefits. You can utilize this healthy skill to give back to your community by joining a children’s reading program. Visit your local library and ask if they have one.
There, you can donate your time by reading to young ones, while reaping many mental health benefits. Reading has been shown to reduce stress, sharpen decision-making skills, and even possibly delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Since consistent reading habits help preserve mental faculties, they may even enable seniors to live independently longer. Regardless, it’s a joy to be around children and to watch them fundamentally grow! Sharing your time with these groups can also help foster a lifelong love of reading in the kids.
Helping the Homeless
No matter what time of year it is, volunteering your time at a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or humane society truly makes a difference in your community. Many of these groups serve those who need it most in society and rely on volunteers to succeed in their cause. These organizations have ongoing needs, which must be fulfilled in order to effectively serve the community. By donating your time once or twice a week, you’re helping hands can positively benefit others.
Become a Foster Grandparent
A foster grandparent provides children with a loving adult role model who can help with homework, attend school activities, or act as a positive mentor. This special relationship is not only beneficial for the child, but also for the “grandparent.”
School districts often offer this type of program for children whose grandparents have passed away or live out of state. Contact your local school district to find out if they offer a foster grandparent program in your community!
Donate Compassion in Times of Need
Local hospitals and surgery centers often need volunteers to manage their front desks or nurses’ stations to provide information to visitors. Seniors can offer the sunny dispositions and empathy needed for patients. Their compassion can be comforting to others in times of uncertainty and distress.
Specifically, volunteering in the pediatric department, or the maternity ward of a hospital, can be especially rewarding. And if you have a knack for sewing, knitting, or crocheting, blankets and hats for newborn babies are often appreciated by new parents.
Don’t wait until tomorrow. Get involved today!
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According to The National Institute on Aging, seniors who volunteer in their communities can improve their longevity, reduce their risk of dementia, and improve their overall lifestyle. Diverse, engaging, and rewarding volunteer opportunities await. Contribute to your neighborhood and play an active role in your community! The more time you donate, the more fulfilled you should feel!