May is Older Americans Month, a month dedicated to celebrating older adults and the many ways they contribute to the world.
According to President Donald Trump’s proclamation, the month is a time to “recognize and celebrate those Americans who have spent decades providing for the next generation and building the greatness of our Nation. Finding ways to contribute can give seniors a sense of purpose and something to look forward to each day. If your aging relative could use a sense of purpose, below are five ways they could contribute to society.
Research shows that older adults who volunteer usually live longer and experience less disability than those who do not volunteer. There are so many needs in any given community that it’s possible to find a volunteer position for nearly any older adult. Some things an older adult could do are:
- Check out customers at non-profit thrift stores.
- Rock and cuddle babies in the hospital NICU.
- Socialize cats or puppies at the humane society.
- Read with or tutor children.
- Donate their skills to a Habitat for Humanity build.
- Serve food at a homeless shelter.
#2 Mentoring Young People
Younger people can benefit from learning from older adults with more life experience. You may be able to find opportunities for mentoring through local schools and youth-oriented non-profit organizations. Sometimes churches have mentoring programs as well.
#3 Share Information About the Past
Seniors have a unique perspective on the past that younger generations do not. Sharing their stories can be an excellent way for younger people to learn about history. One way they can share the information is by volunteering to give tours at a museum or work as a guide at a living history museum.
#4 Teach Fading Skills
Many older adults know how to do things that younger people don’t, such as canning, wood carving, and leatherworking. These are skills that aren’t widely taught but are still valuable. An older adult could volunteer to teach a class or participate in a seminar that shares these skills. Places to do this might be the local library, school, or a community college.
#5 Share Their Wisdom
If your aging relative is looking for a less formal way to contribute, simply sharing their wisdom with younger family members is also valuable. This doesn’t mean they have to be bossy or offer unwanted advice, but they could simply take the time to talk to grandchildren or other young relatives about their life experiences.
Home care can assist older adults to engage in activities that allow them to make a contribution. Home care providers can help seniors find fitting volunteer positions. They can also drive the older adult to the places where they volunteer. Home care providers can also help seniors to prepare for activities by assisting them to gather materials they need for classes or seminars or preparing the house for visitors.