Empowering Elders to Serve
Empower Seniors to Impact Their Local Community
Life does not stop for older adults when they join a senior living community. For many older adults, it is where life can begin. It represents the start of freedom, fun, and independence. Seniors in independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care communities receive the assistance they need to restore or maintain function and mobility. With professional healthcare management and support, residents can pursue different interests and activities that make life enjoyable and rewarding.
Seniors are looking for more than bingo and crafts. They want to and can engage with their peers, caretakers, and community on a deeper level. Volunteer opportunities and community service projects provide an outlet for seniors to stay connected with their passions and the world outside their living community.
The November webinar—Empowering Elders to Serve—hosted by Forum Extended Care offers insight on how to bring value to residents’ lives using their talents, skills, and enthusiasm to benefit the greater community. Webinar speaker Benjamin Surmi, Social Gerontologist and Director of Culture and Education at Koelsch Communities, identifies leadership as a significant factor in empowering older adults.
Leaders in senior care communities should listen to their residents and act as a vessel to help them serve in any capacity they can. Serving the community or volunteering is not just for able-bodied residents—even those in wheelchairs or with limited motor skills can participate in outreach opportunities. There are many volunteer roles that residents with physical or cognitive limitations can handle, such as sorting donations or filling gift bags. Other community service ideas include:
- Tearing newspaper for local animal shelters
- Sewing face masks, pillows, blankets, or other simple comforts
- Using trash bags to make mats for the homeless
- Mentorship or buddy programs with children and young adults
Many older adults find personal enjoyment in volunteering, but there are also physical, social, and emotional benefits. Residents that participate in community outreach projects often have lower blood pressure, improved motor skills, social skills, and mood. It is encouraging and rewarding for seniors to know their time and abilities impact their local community.
Organizing and executing an outreach project can seem daunting and time-consuming for senior care leaders. Not every opportunity requires a lot of staff time. For instance, writing letters or stuffing envelopes is simple yet impactful. Assembly line activities are easy to organize and allow residents to socialize.
Another way to simplify volunteer projects is to partner with local organizations and nonprofits. These relationships can benefit everyone involved. Their teams can organize different volunteer events within your living community or provide various items for residents to sort, pack, or prepare for their local community. Suppose your community organized a can food drive; a local homeless shelter can provide brown sacks for residents to sort and pack bags for distribution.
Check out the November webinar to learn more about how you can empower residents to make an impact in your local community. This webinar is full of applicable information for senior care communities looking for fresh ideas to utilize residents’ skills and abilities. You will find a range of ideas, resources, and support to spark innovative outreach projects and empower residents.