Many lucky retirees go straight from leading a corporation to full time volunteer work. Often they have been serving as a board member or chairman of a nonprofit for years. Now they can devote themselves to the project as many hours as needed.
These volunteer projects often give retirees a greater sense of purpose than they had from their paying jobs.
But not everyone who retires is that well prepared. Many people retire unexpectedly, due to illness, disability, or changing work cultures. If that describes your parent or grandparent, you may wish to help him or her find new meaning by volunteering.
Here are just a few of the things seniors are often needed for:
Help Someone Learn to Read
Many seniors have an excellent command of the written and spoken word. And quite a few seniors have some kind of teaching experience, whether it was in the classroom, corporate training, or Sunday School.
There are many opportunities to tutor children and adults in reading. A good place to start looking might be the AARP Experience Corps which matches tutors with those who need tutoring.
Help out the National Park Service
The National Park Service always needs a range of able-bodied seniors to guide walks, create trails, build and monitor bird boxes, host campers, and other activities. And your senior doesn’t have to be fighting fit to serve with the Park Service. There is often a need for people to staff the information desks.
Volunteer opportunities with the parks are often posted at www.volunteer.gov. Each park also has a volunteer coordinator. Contacting that person directly can give you an idea what kinds of things your senior could get involved with.
The NPS is a great place for seniors to volunteer because they’re in such good company. Of the approximately 220,000 people who volunteer with the NPS, more than half are over 61. Talk about senior power.
Foster a Dog or Cat
Local rescues are frequently looking for people to foster homeless dogs and cats until such time as they can be permanently adopted. This can be a great opportunity for someone over 65. It’s something she can do in her home. And, if your senior has had a dog or cat in the past, chances are she already knows how to foster.
Fostering a dog is great motivation for walking. Someone who might not otherwise get enough exercise will, nevertheless, walk the dog every day. And both dogs and cats provide instant companionship. That can be a tremendous benefit for a senior who is living alone and may be feeling isolated.
Home Care Services Workers can Help
If you have ever considered hiring a home care services agency or individual to help your parent out a few hours a week, this might be a great time to explore that option. Home care services workers can help your beloved mother or father talk through what he or she wants to accomplish at this point in life. Then, armed with that knowledge, your parent can find the right fitting volunteer gig.