In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the major benefits of volunteering for seniors, plus formats for doing so. Many seniors really enjoy giving some of their time to others, a process that also helps foster social connections and improve various life skills while also keeping activity levels high.
At Avamere at Mountain Ridge, our assisted living community includes a wide range of activities, and we encourage volunteering in whatever ways our guests are comfortable with and motivated for. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go through some simple tips we regularly offer seniors on how to get started with volunteering if this is a newer area they’re just picking up.
Find a cause you’re passionate about
The first big step here is identifying a few causes you’re passionate about. This could be anything from wanting to spend more time outdoors to working with animals or children. Once you have a general idea of the types of things you want to do, research some organizations in your area that align with your interests.
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential places to volunteer, look into what kinds of roles they have available. For example, if you’re interested in environmental causes, you might look into becoming a docent at a local nature center or helping with trail maintenance through a city or state park program. If you prefer to work with people, there are countless opportunities available ranging from working at food banks and soup kitchens to being a GRE tutor or leading a book club at your local library.
The best way to get started is usually just reaching out to the organization directly and asking about what kinds of opportunities they have available for volunteers. Most places are always in need of extra help and would be more than happy to chat with you about what kinds of roles might be a good fit given your situation.
Word of mouth
One great way to find strong causes to support is through your personal network. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors and see if they have any suggestions for places that could use some extra help. You might be surprised at just how many people in your life are already volunteering their time in some capacity and can provide you with a wealth of information and recommendations.
In other cases, the best way to learn about opportunities is through online resources. This is especially useful if you’re interested in volunteer work but don’t necessarily have a specific cause or organization in mind.
There are a number of websites out there that can help connect you with causes in your area, and many of them have extensive databases with tons of different options to choose from. A few widely-used examples include VolunteerMatch, Catchafire, and Idealist. You can use these websites to search for opportunities based on your skillset, location, and availability, making it easy to find something that’s a good fit for you.
In addition, many of these websites also allow organizations to post their own volunteer opportunities, so it’s a good idea to check back on them frequently in case anything new pops up that you’re interested in.
For more on how to get started volunteering in your senior years, or to learn about any of our assisted living or memory care programs, speak to our caring staff at Avamere at Mountain Ridge today.