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How to Reach Out to the Elderly in Your Community

by eHow Relationships & Family Editor

If you have a little time to spare, consider spending some of it with senior citizens in your community. You may be able to make a big difference in someone's life just by giving an hour or so each week.

Volunteer to read out loud, play board games or play the piano and sing at a local nursing home or extended care facility. Many seniors love to have visitors, especially if their family lives in a different city or state.

Visit your local senior center or community center, and ask about volunteer opportunities. There may be a whole list of possibilities!

Offer to get groceries or run errands for someone at a local semi-independent senior community.

Give a few hours a week to Meals on Wheels, dropping off dinners to elderly residents of your area.

Provide regular rides to someone who no longer drives; ask your local community volunteer coordinators if they know of anyone, or ask at a nearby nursing home.

Join a 'Rent-a-Grandma' program. Many senior centers and care facilities invite parents and children to visit so that elderly residents can spend some time with babies, toddlers and even school-age kids.

Ask at a nursing home if you and your pet can visit. Some facilities like to have people with well-behaved dogs, cats and other small animals visit the residents.

If you are involved with sports and fitness, volunteer to help with physical activities at a local senior center or home.

At holiday times, offer to participate in seasonal or spiritual celebrations at a local nursing home or care facility, or invite a senior to share in a holiday dinner at your home.

Items you will need
  • Sheet Music For Piano
  • Flowers

Tip

  • If you're not sure where to start, look in your telephone directory under 'Senior Citizens' ' you will almost certainly find the contact information you need.

Warnings

  • If you suspect that a senior you are spending time with may be malnourished, abused or neglected, talk to someone who has the authority to handle the situation, or contact the senior's extended family directly.
  • If you come up against any other problem or situation you can't deal with, report it. You may suspect that your senior friend is the target of a scam artist, or may feel that your friend's mental or physical health is deteriorating unusually rapidly. Either way, talk to someone who can make a difference.