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.
- 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.
- 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.