While this past year has been especially challenging for many, it has also reminded us of the things we are most grateful for, but often take for granted. As we enter the holiday season, now is the perfect time to slow down and reflect on the positive aspects of our lives and find opportunities to give back to those who could use a little extra help, particularly older adults.
This time of year, there are several ways to make a difference for those who need it most, both locally and on a national scale. For instance, participating in observances such as National Day of Giving can make a big impact in someone’s life. National Day of Giving – also known as Giving Tuesday – is a day dedicated to encouraging people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity. The observance is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, this year’s celebration taking place on December 1.
When considering which causes to contribute to this year, Home Instead encourages you to explore organizations that benefit older adults. Though 2020 has not been an especially good year for anyone, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected seniors, greatly disrupting their day-to-day lives and isolating them from their family and friends. This year, it will be up to each of us to find ways to embrace and give back to our aging loved ones and neighbors.
“All of us can play a role in helping older adults feel connected and supported,” said Erin Albers, vice president of Social Purpose at Home Instead. “Perhaps you call an aging family member, friend or neighbor to check-in regularly. Or you may identify an organization focused on the needs of seniors that allow you to give back.”
But giving back doesn’t have to mean donating financially. There are many other ways to make a lasting impression including volunteering your time, lending your talents or raising your voice to advocate for older adults. To help get started, Albers suggests the following ways to give back:
- Give Your Time. 1 in 4 adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated, according to the CDC. The pandemic has older adults experiencing feelings of loneliness and a lack of companionship more than ever. Setting aside time to connect with aging loved ones can make a meaningful difference and brighten their day. Virtually volunteering at a local senior center or becoming a pen pal through Home Instead’s Ready to Care movement are other great ways to give back.
- Give Your Talent. If improving the lives of older adults is something you’re passionate about, caregiving might be the career for you. Looking after seniors is a labor of love that requires a special person with just the right touch. If you’re interested in enhancing the quality of life for seniors near you, consider exploring a career as a CAREGiver.
- Give your Treasure. Less than 2% of funding from the nation’s largest grant makers is specifically focused on seniors. Consider donating to causes that provide critical resources to older adults such as food, shelter, medical care or transportation. For inspiration, explore the local charities involved with GIVE65SM, a 65-hour crowd-fundraising event that raises money for organizations and services supporting seniors. Or, give back through Home Instead’s Be a Santa to a Senior gift-giving program benefiting those who might otherwise go without any gifts or visitors during the holidays.
- Give your Voice. Show your support for older adults near and far by joining organizations working tirelessly to advocate for their rights and benefits. Visit the National Council on Aging’s website to get the latest news on public policy affecting older adults and explore their Advocacy Toolkit to access tips and best practices for speaking up for seniors.
Through simple, kind actions, we can fearlessly create today the world we want to grow older in tomorrow. For more inspiration and ideas to give back to the older adults in your community, visit ReadyToCare.com.