Think about the wealth of talent tucked away in our older generation. Think about how much they know about our world. If you think about all they’ve experienced and how valuable that experience is, you realize our older persons are gold mines.
Many older persons love to volunteer their time and talent. You see seniors volunteering at churches, hospitals, and non-profits. You also see senior volunteers who are residents of nursing homes helping fellow residents by leading a group, mending clothes, or running a store within the home. Seniors are part of our community who may still feel the need to give back.
I call volunteering, spreading the wealth.
So what can you do to help an older person “spread the wealth”? If your loved one enjoys volunteering consider these ideas:
- Many places in the community need volunteers including schools, libraries, churches, hospitals, pet organizations, nursing homes, and non-profit organizations. Make a phone call about volunteering or visit their website to fill out an application. See what volunteer task your loved one can fulfill. There may even be tasks that can be fulfilled at home if a loved one has a hard time leaving the house. Consider also volunteering together.
- If your older friend or family member knows a lot about a subject, consider having them do a presentation or teach a class. My father recently spoke to a group of military veterans about his service during World War II. They were so appreciative!
- If appropriate ask your loved one to complete some needed tasks for you such as clipping coupons, folding clothes, or mending clothes.
- Spend time with children or grandchildren. Visiting and babysitting can be great opportunities to show them hobbies and interests. Whether the person builds bird houses, plays an instrument, whittles, gardens, or sews, kids will be interested to see what grandma or grandpa can do. Be prepared, because the kids might want to try it too! Buy an extra crochet hook and yarn, or have parts made for another bird house.
- Make a date and plan an activity that an older person loves. Plan a fishing trip, make homemade ice cream, or paint a picture. He or she will teach you what they know. My children think my mother is so much more talented and capable then I am. And she is!
- Ask a child to show an older person what they love to do. Go to their soccer game, look at the pictures they’ve drawn, listen to an at-home concert, or attend a play they’re in. This can open up a new dialogue and gives the child a chance to spread his wealth to the world.