PREBLE COUNTY — Men and women looking to give back to their communities can do so in various ways. Some might coach youth sports teams, while others might organize food and clothing drives for the less fortunate.
Giving back to seniors in your town or city is another way to strengthen your community. Many seniors maintain their independence long past retirement age, but some may need a helping hand as they get older. The following are a handful of ways you can improve the quality of life of seniors in your community.
•Deliver meals. Seniors who are confined to their homes typically need to have their meals delivered to them. Men and women looking to help seniors can volunteer to work with their local Meals on Wheels program. Meals on Wheels boasts a national network of more than 5,000 independently run programs, and these programs rely on more than two million volunteers to deliver nutritious meals to seniors with limited mobility. The need for volunteers to help seniors figures to grow in the coming decades, as Meals on Wheels America notes that the percentage of the population that qualifies as seniors will grow from 18 percent in 2010 to 26 percent by 2050.
•Help around the house. The work required to maintain a home is considerable no matter a person’s age, but that task is even more difficult for seniors. Even the healthiest seniors may not have the mobility or physical strength required to keep up with household chores. Offering to help a senior maintain his or her home is a great way to improve their quality of life. Visit an elderly relative or neighbor and offer to mow their lawn, take out their garbage or perform another task they might find challenging. Performing a few chores around a seniorÕs house wonÕt take long, but such gestures can have a big impact on seniorsÕ lives.
•Invite seniors over for dinner. Many seniors suffer from feelings of isolation, which can contribute to depression. Families are now more geographically diverse, and a seniorÕs children and grandchildren may not live nearby. In such cases, itÕs easy for seniors to grow lonely and feel isolated from their communities. Inviting seniors over for a weekly dinner or to backyard social gatherings can help them maintain a connection to their communities and reduce their feelings of isolation. Extending such invitations also provides a great way for parents to instill in their children a respect for and appreciation of the elderly.
•Arrange transportation for seniors who no longer drive. Many seniors stop driving when they realize their skills behind the wheel have diminished. But even though they may relinquish their driversÕ licenses, seniors still need to keep their doctorÕs appointments and get out of the house. Speak with your neighbors who also want to help seniors to arrange transportation for those who can no longer get themselves around town. Explain to seniorsÕ physicians when you or your neighbors are most available to get seniors to their appointments. In addition, offer to drive seniors to the grocery store when making your own shopping trips.
•Many seniors made valuable contributions to the communities they call home. And those communities can give back by helping seniors overcome the demands of aging.