If you’re reading this, it’s clear that you care deeply about the needs and concerns of seniors in America and helping seniors in our own community to stay healthy, happy and connected. And like many who give their time and energy to the common good, you’re probably looking for ways to take this service even further.
On National Senior Citizens Day (Aug. 21) and the International Day of Older Persons (Oct. 1), consider the following meaningful ways to help and honor seniors in your community:
1. Volunteer for Deupree Meals On Wheels
Hunger is a major problem in the United States, and seniors are especially hard hit by it. According to a September 2017 report, more than 5 million Americans 60 years or older — or 8 percent of the entire senior population — experience food insecurity.
Deupree Meals On Wheels delivers warm, nutritious meals to seniors who have trouble feeding themselves. They may be unable to cook due to mobility issues, because they’re recovering from a hospital stay or because they have a disability or chronic illness.
By volunteering for Deupree Meals On Wheels, you not only help them remain in good health and avoid a host of illnesses that can result from poor nutrition, but you also provide them with with much-needed companionship.
And the impact is significant: Deupree Meals On Wheels projects that it will deliver more than 138,000 meals to more than 500 clients in 2018.
2. Spend Time with Your Older Loved Ones
Whether your older relatives live in a retirement community or by themselves, they’re likely eager to spend time with you and the rest of your family. Don’t make them wait for the next big family reunion — any day is a great day to spend time with them. Whether you do something out in the community or simply spend time together at home, your senior loved are sure to enjoy spending time with you and are bound to feel happier and more energized afterward.
3. Teach a Class at Your Local Retirement Community
Do you have a special skill that you enjoy teaching to others? Whether it’s painting, cooking, speaking another language or another talent, people will be eager to learn at your local retirement community.
Not only do such classes give retirees a fun way to spend their time and form friendships with one another, but they also help stimulate their minds. This leads to better emotional health, helping seniors avoid depression, anxiety, and other common mental health issues.
It may also provide cognitive and memory benefits. Recent studies have shown a link between performing stimulating activities on a regular basis and a lower risk of memory loss. So by teaching your favorite skill at a local retirement community, you can help its members stay happy, healthy and sharp well into the future.
4. Organize an Exercise Program
Besides teaching arts, crafts and other skills, you could put together an exercise program for a senior living community. By collaborating with care providers there, you can design workouts that are safe and enjoyable for residents of all abilities.
Not only does exercise help seniors stay in good physical health, but it also may help reduce their risk of depression, anxiety, and a host of other cognitive and mental health issues. So if you love to work out, why not share that love with the residents of your local retirement community?
5. Throw a Party for Guests of All Ages
One of the last things that seniors want is to feel isolated, but this is often hard to avoid, especially if they live at home in a neighborhood with few people of the same age. You can help them stay connected by inviting them and other neighbors of all ages to your house for a party.
Try planning a cookout, potluck or another get-together and encourage people who don’t know each other to mingle and converse, leading them to get to know one another and form friendships. Read more about the benefits of intergenerational friendships.
Want to learn more about volunteering for ERS? Contact us. We’d love to talk to you about how your talents and interests can help seniors in our communities. If you have a passion, we’ll make it an opportunity.