Volunteer opportunities abound in wintertime, especially if you’re looking to help seniors. Even in warm regions of the country, seniors may be particularly vulnerable in winter, especially those who live alone and aren’t surrounded by family and friends in their communities. Here are a few ways you can make a big difference in the life of someone who just needs a little extra care.
Start with the bare necessities.
According to Feeding America, in 2015, 2.9 million households with seniors age 65 or older experienced food insecurity. And the number is rising. An even bigger problem is that many of these individuals are unaware of programs designed to help. The SNAP program (formerly the Food Stamp Program) can help and this DIY guide shows you how. You can also help seniors find access to additional resources such as adult education, help with prescription payments and employee resources here.
Lock in the warmth, and the savings.
You can help seniors on a fixed income by assisting them with a simple home energy audit. Many utilities also offer these resources free of charge, but seniors in your community may not be aware. Small improvements such as caulking windows, adjusting hot water heater settings and sealing doors can save hundreds on home heating costs. Check out our DIY guide for more tips and cost-saving links and you save a few dollars for your neighbors and yourself.
Turn isolation into liberation.
A senior with limited mobility or access to resources can feel trapped in his or her home during the winter months. Just a quick well-check call and a friendly voice can brighten your neighbor’s day. You can offer to take a trip to the coffee shop, grab lunch or take in a movie. Watching your team on TV? You’ve got another great opportunity to connect with someone in need. If you have time, but are unable to provide transportation, you can learn how to volunteer for the Crisis Text Line, which provides instant personal resources for seniors and people of all ages. And there are lots of other ways to help seniors feel connected.
Lend an hour, and a hand.
Less daylight means less time for necessary household chores, including shopping, home maintenance and other errands. You can offer to accompany a senior in your community to the grocery store, or just have them make a list and do the shopping at a convenient time. For tips on how to help others save, check out our DIY guide.
Simple tasks like shoveling the driveway or walkways that may take you a few extra minutes when you’re already outside, could save a senior on your street from stress and potential injury. Making dinner tonight? Make enough for one more, and see if your neighbor would like to join your family for a hot meal.
Find more ways to make sure seniors get the help they need this winter. Use our volunteer search page and keyword "senior.”
Reach Out and Check In
The winter months draw many of us inside and can increase a feeling of social isolation, particularly for seniors. Reach out to your neighbors to show you care and strengthen community connections.
Operation Energy Save
Decrease a family member, friend or neighbor's home energy expenses with these simple tips.