Many of today’s senior living communities, like Sholom, rely strongly on volunteers to create meaningful activities and programs for their residents. Volunteers are a vital part of the community, offering their time, talent, and skills to every dimension of life. If you’ve been considering becoming a volunteer, here are just a few of the benefits to keep in mind.
Improve the Life of Residents
Serving as a volunteer offers important opportunities for social interaction for both you and the people you work with in any senior living community. While volunteer opportunities may vary between communities, building relationships with the residents of the community can be a rewarding experience for you and the resident. Giving a manicure, providing an escort for an outdoor walk, or simply having a conversation, can not only put a smile on a resident’s face, but also provide much needed support and encouragement.
Loneliness has been directly related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. With that in mind, think about the difference you can make in someone’s life when you take the time to sit and chat or offer a meaningful experience for them.
Families with loved ones living in senior living communities benefit greatly from knowing that in addition to caring staff, their loved one can enjoy extra attention from volunteers who offer support and a listening ear, and help create a sense of fun and belonging within the community. Volunteers can offer much-needed time and assistance, such as helping a resident organize a closet, writing cards or notes, or recording a resident’s life story; all tasks that can help families with the responsibilities of caregiving, providing them peace of mind.
Making New Friends
Volunteering in a senior living community also offers the chance to make new friends! Forming friendships with the residents of the community can be a most rewarding experience. While initially you may feel as if you have very little in common, you may be quite surprised at how much you truly do share, whether it is a love of music, a favorite sports team, a hobby, a travel experience, your family background or even something as simple as a book you’ve both read. All of these similar interests provide a starting point for a great conversation which can lead the way to a lasting and meaningful relationship.
Adding to Your Job Experience
Looking to bulk-up your resume? Volunteering in a senior living community can provide you with valuable experience for any career. Organizing, coordinating, and assisting with fundraising, daily activities, special events, and other details can help to strengthen your skills for the workplace.
Building relationships with residents, family members and staff can serve as a networking opportunity and help to strengthen your communication and interpersonal skills, which can help you stand out as a strong candidate in your field. Many volunteer directors are also happy to write a letter of reference when needed.