Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
HAVE FUN WITH AN ELDERLY PERSON
-The fastest growing age group is 85 years and older.
-Every 7.5 seconds a baby boomer turns 60.
-1 out of 5 people, or 72 million, will be 65 years or older by 2030
-Nearly 23% of people aged 75 and older live in nursing homes.
-Due to the increase in divorce rates, a decrease in the number of children, and more family members living farther away from one another, family support for the elderly is less available.
1. Offer the elderly you see today simple gestures of courtesy and respect – smile and say “hello”, let them have the right of way while driving, or give up your seat in a crowded area.
2. Contact a local independent living, assisted living, or continued care facility and ask if they need volunteers.
3. Ask the facility if children or pets are allowed.
4. Organize a family or a group of friends to go with you.
5. Be prepared. Volunteering at a senior or elderly care home can involve many types of activities – playing games or cards, reading , doing art and craft projects, singing songs, teaching a class, or just being friendly.
6. Ask the seniors questions about their life.
7. HAVE FUN!
Often times while volunteering for Hospice, my patients are often away from family members and live in nursing homes. Just being someone who stops by to visit, read, or just sit with them, can brighten their day. For those who are able, going and calling the bingo games, or having your kids hand out the prizes brings joy to the residents. They enjoy seeing children and you are taking the load off of a staff member. Often times, seniors are living alone in their homes much longer. So, look around your neighborhood. Do you have an elderly person living alone near you? Make a point to stop by for coffee and get to know each other. Today, seniors are living longer, are more full of life, have more expendable income, and have achieved higher levels of education. So, if you spend time with them, you might just find that a friendly game of gin rummy or bingo will teach you a thing or two about life.