With people still generally retiring at age 65, the golden years of retirement are growing longer and longer. For healthy seniors who have managed to retire with comfortable incomes, this can be a real blessing.
For those elderly people in poor health or who are financially strapped, these can be years of loneliness and suffering. To help seniors find some joy in their lives, many fellow senior citizens are pitching in to assist them and are achieving great satisfaction from the effort.
Here are some of the organisations and positions that provide great opportunities for working with seniors.
Elders Helpers programme
This volunteer network helps seniors with chores like carrying groceries, writing letters, cleaning and cooking, as well as providing transportation to run errands. The largest senior-assist program of its kind in the US with over 10,000 volunteers, there should be a chapter somewhere close to where you live where you can volunteer and get to know some great new people.
Meals on Wheels
This programme delivers meals to individuals at their homes who are housebound or who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. For a very minimal fee, volunteer drivers deliver nutritious, warm lunches or dinners right to senior’s doorsteps.
AARP Foundation volunteers
Volunteers from the AARP Foundation serve as a voice and advocate for seniors by writing letters to newspapers and becoming engaged with local, state and national senior issues. This is a great organisation that does a lot of very important work for those who aren’t able to themselves.
Senior living adviser
Senior volunteers with a work background in finance, medicine, law, or other professional fields can visit assisted living facilities to help residents with any problems in these areas. You can also call on senior community centres and offer your services.
Visit assisted living facilities
Loneliness and boredom are two emotions that pray most on the minds of patients at assisted living facilities. Most directors of these facilities welcome volunteer visitors to come and interact with their seniors in playing board games, reading to them aloud, or just sitting and conversing on a regular basis. If you have a qualification in medical assisting and a healthcare uniform you can also use these facilities as job opportunities. Most are always in need of qualified workers who can help seniors who live here with daily tasks.
Teaching seniors classes on fraud and scams
No group of people in our society get scammed or defrauded more than our seniors. From crank phone call scams to internet fraud, criminals pick on the elderly because they know are susceptible to a clever pitch. Knowing about these various schemes is the best tool to keep from being victimised. Volunteers can keep current with the latest scams and inform seniors through classes, blogs, or newsletters.
Other than your time you give, there is usually very little financial cost to you when you participate in these volunteer programs. Some of these organisations will even provide health care uniforms that identify the group you are working with.
Do you know of any other opportunities for working with the elderly in your area? Post them below so others can get involved!
Photo: Bridget Coila / Flickr