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Spending Time With Seniors Isn’t Old News

Posted By Melissa Haughton, Volunteer Guest Blogger, December 21, 2015
 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 


Like it or not, Canada’s population is rapidly aging. Statistics Canada found that for the first time, there are more persons aged 65 years and older in Canada than children aged 0 to 14 years. So what does this mean for you? Instead of searching for signs of grey in your hair, take a moment to consider spending time with senior citizens in your community.

 
Give Something Back

Canadians aged 65-74 give the most hours annually to volunteer causes. People in this age group recognize the importance of participating in community efforts and spending time with people in need. So why not return the favour?


Understanding the Elderly

As people age, life can change significantly. Mobility and health issues may become more prominent and lifestyle changes often occur. Since some elderly people aren’t able to engage in the same activities they used to, they can easily feel marginalized.

In fact, depression amongst seniors is common. The Mood Disorders Society of Canada found that 5% to 10% of seniors will experience a depressive disorder that is serious enough to require treatment and the rate of anxiety and depression dramatically increases to 30% to 40% for seniors living in institutions. It also found that chronic pain, living alone without a supportive network, and death of loved ones can be contributing factors to depression among senior citizens, so engaging with elderly citizens in a volunteer capacity can be an important preventative measure.


Getting Social

There are a variety of ways to get involved with senior citizens. Participating in social activities—whether with individuals or groups of elderly—can be extremely rewarding and provide a strong support system for seniors who may feel isolated.

Something as simple as volunteering to be a conversation partner, or lending your talents at a long-term elderly care facility, can make a significant difference in a senior’s life. Many seniors organizations look for Friendly Visitors to meet and chat with residents every week to improve their social activities. And if you’re able to play a musical instrument, there are often roles that involve performing for residents to bring some fun and entertainment to their lives.

Also assisting seniors who may need help with routine activities is another good way to get involved, whether through formal volunteering or simply helping an older relative or neighbour. You could help an elderly person with:

  • Yard work,
  • Minor household maintenance,
  • Gardening and landscaping,
  • Grocery shopping,
  • Computer literacy and written communication, and
  • Accompaniment to appointments and errands.


Let’s not forget that senior citizens are an important part of Canadian society. At best, seniors are honoured and celebrated. At worst, they are considered a burden or are purposefully ignored.  Spending time volunteering with seniors affirms the fact that everyone should be valued and cared for, regardless of age. Take a trip to our volunteer opportunities board and do a keyword search of “seniors” to see how you can positively impact a senior’s life today!

 

Melissa Haughton is a recent graduate who currently works in marketing. She is passionate about writing, cats and helping out in the community. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

Tags:  friendly visitor  how to volunteer with seniors  senior care  seniors home  volunteer with the elderly  volunteering with seniors  why volunteer with seniors 

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