"But love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked." Luke 6:35
Giving back to those less fortunate is an excellent way for seniors to feel needed and to reap multiple health benefits. Volunteering may help reduce depression, increase longevity, lower blood pressure and encourage seniors to build close bonds with others with similar interests. If you're looking for a way to volunteer your time and services, consider the following suggestions.
Organizations like Volunteer Match can pair you up with foster grandparent opportunities at a variety of local organizations. A foster grandparent provides support to young children and the youth in their community. Activities may include reading to groups of children or teaching a child to read, tutoring young people in subjects like writing, gardening or photography, or assisting with crafts at a local museum or church.
Seniors with a personal vehicle who still drive may volunteer for an organization like Meals On Wheels. This program delivers hot and nutritious meals to homebound individuals who can't purchase or prepare their own meals. If you prefer to not drive or don't have a car, you can also volunteer to help cook meals in the kitchen.
Homeless shelters and soup kitchens rely on the support of volunteers in the community to keep their doors open to those less fortunate. At the soup kitchen, you can serve meals, work in the kitchen or clean up after individuals eat. At the homeless shelter, volunteers teach job skills, help educate the homeless on how to prepare for job interviews and may even assist in cleaning, cooking or teaching other life skills.
Some hospitals have programs that help serve young mothers or needy families with newborn babies. Volunteer to make blankets, hats, mittens and other clothing items to keep babies warm. Not only does this help new parents with the essentials, but it also means more when the items are homemade.