Becoming a volunteer is an excellent way to show compassion. During the past year, the entire world has had to learn to adjust to a new way of doing things. The uncertainty and changes have caused some to wonder how they can give back to others and make the world around them a better place.
In addition to providing much needed services to the community around them, senior volunteers are able to live a more active life through volunteering. Volunteering can also provide a boost in mental health, with some reports showing that older Americans who volunteer routinely live longer. They also report fewer issues with disability.
There are many opportunities for seniors to volunteer their time and service; you just have to know where to look. Of course, during the pandemic safety must be taken into consideration so it may be helpful to look for opportunities that can be done from home.
- Volunteer as a virtual crisis counselor. If you’ve always been a compassionate listener, this may be the position you’re looking for. Using your phone, you can provide support for someone in crisis, either through talking or texting. Training is given so there is no need to worry about knowing what to do. All you need is a soft heart and a listening ear.
- Lend your wisdom and experience to a program that serves guidance to others. There are programs that pair seniors with children as foster grandparents, allowing them to serve as role models and mentors to children and young people in need. There are also programs that pair seniors with other seniors to help them handle their activities of daily living, such as shopping and paying bills.
- The American Cancer Society is always a good place to volunteer. With the current pandemic, the iconic Relay for Life event has gone virtual. Volunteers can host virtual walks and light virtual luminaries, which allows the benefits to the American Cancer Society to continue, albeit in a different way than previous years.
- Meals on Wheels has always played a vital role in helping homebound seniors by providing them meals in their homes. This can be adjusted for COVID safety by simply leaving meals on the porch, or making arrangements to leave the meal inside the door, all with no contact for either person. Now more than ever, these meals provide a vital service for the seniors in the community who are in need.
These are just a few ideas for opportunities for seniors to volunteer. The only thing left to do is find an opportunity that speaks to you, and be prepared to harvest the many benefits of volunteering.