A guide to volunteering in an elderly care home.

Volunteering not only looks great on your college résumé but also brings you a sense of purpose in life. Volunteering, especially in a retirement home, can be one of the most fulfilling things you’ll ever do; seeing a smile on the face of the senior residents can brighten your whole day. You’ll benefits as much as the elderly when you volunteer there, since you not only get to learn from their stories and experiences, but they also have some new to talk to, which can bring them out of their humdrum routine. If you are an extrovert and enjoy interacting with people irrespective of their age, then you should definitely volunteer in a nursing home.

How to volunteer:

Be sure that you are vaccinated: be sure that all your vaccines are up-to-date because older people are the most vulnerable slice of the population and diseases tend to be more fatal to them. Most elderly homes will ask you to get a tuberculosis test and now you’ll have to get the Covid-19 vaccination. Most US states and counties are mandating that all nursing home employees must be fully vaccinated to be able to work because older people are more at risk ad the mortality rate for them is higher when it comes to the novel Coronavirus. 

Become a volunteer: Go to your local retirement home and see if they are looking for volunteers to help out in the day-to-day running of the establishment, or ask those in charge if you can spend your free time helping out there. While there, fill in an application form to be apart time or full-time volunteer there. Whether you are going there to visit a relative, neighbor, or a new acquaintance, plan ahead so that the living facility isn’t surprised by your visit. You may even schedule regular visits to them and spend time with your new friends. One of the best things you can do to brighten the day of someone there is spending some quality time with them and indulge them in talking about their lives. Bring along a board game or some cards with you during your visit so that you can play with them and distract their minds for a while.

Activities you can organize: If you are musically inclined and are in a band, I would really advise you to perform a concert for them, be sure to add some oldies to your repertoire to keep them happy. While doing your show, make sure to have a dance floor where they can dance and have fun. Organize game tournaments like bingo, and you’ll see the light in their eyes; older people love bingo, and if you want to be extra, invite a drag queen and organize a Drag Queen Bingo. This will entertain them and make them discover drag queens who will lip sync in between bingo games. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. You can even have a hairdresser there, who could give the living facilities residents new looks and haircuts.

drag queen bingo

Help older adults around you: If there are no living facilities near you, volunteer to run errands for your elderly neighbors and make it a routine to call them and check in on them. If you love cooking or baking, you can always treat them with a dish that you made especially for them and can spend some time with your lonely elderly neighbor by watching a movie with them and making them feel less lonely. If you are good with your hands and have some free time, you might even want to lend them a hand with their chores.

If you want to start volunteering, I would advise that you work with the same resident and build a relationship with them. This will make both of you more at ease with each other and creates a more meaningful relationship. You can even be pen pals with them and this will give them something to do and look forward to.

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