Many senior citizens do not have children or grandchildren to visit them and their spouses or friends may not be around to socialize or keep them company. Because of this, many senior citizens would appreciate a visit. Hearing a kids’s laughter and seeing a kid’s smiling face may be just the thing to make them feel special . Even if you don’t have an older adult in your life, you can still make someone’s day. Here are some ideas how you can add some volunteer work to your college application and bring some smile to the elderly.
DO YARDWORK OR CHORES FOR A NEIGHBOR
Many senior citizens enjoy the independence of living alone in their own home, but there are plenty of projects that they would enjoy being helped with. Visit a neighbor and help them with these tedious tasks that can easily be forgotten about:
- Mow the lawn and pull weeds around the house.
- Help with watering the flowers.
- Pick up sticks or large branches in the yard and haul them away.
- Clean out the gutters and read a story or go on a walk with your neighbor.
- Dust and vacuum the house.
- Clean out the kitchen cupboards and drawers.
- Clean out the closets and sort out items to donate to charity.
VISIT A RETIREMENT HOME
The great part about visiting a retirement home is that many seniors can benefit from your visit. Many older adults get excited when people visit and they will feel extra special.
- Bring in a collection of games to enjoy together. Ideas include Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Life, Apples to Apples, Clue, Yahtzee, Sorry, or Scattegories.
- Bring in movies that both kids and adults can enjoy. Consider movies such as Up, The Wizard of Oz, Finding Nemo, Mary Poppins, and Frozen.
- Help residents put together a family tree, scrapbook, or photo album. Interview residents and include their questions and answers in the scrapbook.
- If you know how to navigate the internet, spend the day teaching residents how to use computers and the internet.
- If a resident knows how to knit or crochet, ask them to teach you.
START A BOOK CLUB
A way to get seniors involved in the community on National Senior Citizens Day and every day of the year is to encourage them to start a book club. Reading is great for children, but it also helps seniors to reduce stress and improves their sleep. Reading can also enhance memory and decision-making skills. It may also delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Start a monthly book club at a retirement home. Many libraries have book club programs where they will provide books to members of book clubs. Residents can each take turns reading the book at different times. Everyone involved will enjoy hearing each other’s different points of view on the stories.
- Great books for children that even adults love to read are The Giving Tree, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Are You My Mother?, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Poky Little Puppy, Madeline, Little Bear, and Where the Sidewalk Ends.
- Books that are great for older children and seniors include James and the Giant Peach, Charlotte’s Web, the Little House on the Prairie series, the Harry Potter series, To Kill a Mockingbird, Watership Down, Because of Winn-Dixie, Tuck Everlasting, Little Women, The Giver, and the Chronicles of Narnia series.
- Start a book club with a grandparent or even a grandparent and his or her friends.
INTERVIEW AN OLDER RELATIVE
You and your children probably wish you knew more about your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, or older relatives. What were their hobbies? What did they want to be when they “grew up?” Who was their first date? This information is important for children to have and it’s something that they will cherish as they grow older. Put together a list of interview questions for a senior citizen in your life. Ask them questions such as:
- What is your first memory?
- How did your parents meet?
- What did you like most about your childhood home?
- How did your family celebrate holidays when you were a child? What is your favorite holiday memory?
- How did you meet your spouse? What did you like most about him or her
- Ask them about their wedding day and honeymoon. Ask to see photos of the wedding or any special items that they have saved over the years.
- Ask about their interests and hobbies.
- Have them explain their experiences as a parent.
- Ask them about their favorite school subjects, their favorite job, or the different companies they worked for.
- Ask about their role models, favorite celebrities, and how they feel about any current events.
- Ask if there are any other important memories that they would like to share.
CREATE HOMEMADE GIFT BASKETS
If you don’t have time to spend a full day, there are other ways that you can make a difference.
- Put together gift baskets or gift bags filled with cookies, candies, baking mixes, jams, crackers, and other fun snacks. Bring them to a retirement community.
- Create a gift basket with fitness tools to encourage seniors to stay fit and strong. Light weights, stretch bands, a gentle exercise video, or even a yoga mat might be good ideas.
- Create a gift basket with different types of stationary, such as notepads, pens, paper, greeting cards, tape, and folders.
- Put together a game basket with puzzles, word finds, and board games.
- Make a gift bag with craft supplies, yarn, sewing materials, and patterns that can be used for knitting or crocheting.
At the end you will not only improve your college application but feel so proud of playing a part in helping to give back to the community and making an older adult smile.