Volunteering with seniors is one of the most fulfilling things you’ll ever do. Whether you volunteer year-round or for a season, your impact will have lasting effects.
This has certainly proven true for Alexandria Blunt, a Bachelor of Commerce student at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.
Looking for a more balanced lifestyle, Alexandria started her volunteer placement at Summerwood Village in October 2019 , co-hosting game nights and visiting seniors one-on-one. “The staff were very supportive”, says Alexandra, guiding her experience with games night, and facilitating visits with seniors at the residence.
“I especially enjoyed the one-on-ones with people who didn’t have loved ones visiting. It was so nice to listen to their stories and share their day”.
Another bonus of volunteering? The ASC Scholarship! “Though it wasn’t why I started, the scholarship opportunity was a plus”, she explains.
Read on to find out more about the benefits of volunteering and the All Seniors Care scholarship.
4 Benefits of Volunteering
1. Social Contribution
Statistics published by Volunteer Canada, state that 60% of people who volunteer during the pandemic do so to help others or their community. Supporting seniors in retirement living is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
According to Brandi Mass, a Health and Wellness Coordinator/Recreation Therapist at Summerwood Village in Edmonton, “Volunteers are important to our residence as they provide community connection for our seniors. No matter what age or background, volunteers can be a lifeline … providing connections and relationships.”
For older people, companionship and social interaction can be life changing. In retirement communities, volunteers like Alexandra often come in purely to provide social engagement, including one-on-one visits, playing board games, or providing cultural support.
Since furry companions make people smile too, some volunteers even bring in their pets to visit.
2. Show Off Your Skills
Perhaps you’re a personal trainer with a little extra time up your sleeve. Seniors need to be more careful when exercising, and your expert know-how and companionship will do a world of good for their wellbeing.
Or maybe you’re a masseuse or manicurist. Everyone loves a bit of pampering, and it’s a great opportunity to trade your skills for smiles!
“Our volunteers keep our residents young, says Mass. “They inspire enthusiasm for activities and challenge them to try harder. They bring skills and abilities that staff may not have and share them with our residents.”
3. Improve Your Health
In the pursuit of doing good for others, you can do a whole lot of good for yourself.
In a recently published survey, volunteers reported a range of health benefits after participating in a casual volunteer role over 12 months. They benefited by increasing social wellbeing, physical health, and life satisfaction, while decreasing depression.
Volunteering is particularly beneficial if you’re feeling isolated and want to build your social skills or confidence. It’s an opportunity for interaction and a great way to meet new people, whether you interact with one person or a group of people. It’s also an opportunity to make new friends. Plus, it is empowering to be doing something that really matters.
With so many benefits for both you and the community, volunteering really is a win-win situation.
4. Boost Your Career
Volunteering looks good on a resume.
According to Deloitte, 82% of employers said they prefer applicants with volunteer experience. With that said, only 32% of job seekers mention it in their resumes.
Many volunteer roles provide some type of training. Even without formal training, it can teach you skills that all employers look for: teamwork, communication, task management, and problem solving.
And if you’re curious about working with the elderly, volunteering in a retirement community is a great way to see what the sector is like, giving you first-hand experience.
Volunteering During A Pandemic
Once the pandemic started, Alexandra started volunteering remotely, by writing a weekly Good News newsletter full of fun facts, games, and community updates. “It was a really great opportunity – everyone is isolated these days, so it was nice to brighten their day in some way.”
“It also brightened mine”, says Alexandra, talking about the emails she received from seniors at Summerwood Village. “They are proactive and kind, sending me emails telling me how much they enjoyed the newsletter”.
While some volunteers are still able to visit on-site, many are not. For All Seniors Care keeping volunteers, residents, and staff are front and centre, the face of volunteering has temporarily changed. Check-in calls, emails, and social media contact is emphasized. Connecting regularly via technology has been a great way for individuals to help.
In cases where programs can be run, they are modified. All volunteers follow safe distancing guidelines and are supplied with PPE. Staff in our residences provide training on the proper way to sanitize equipment and wash hands.
If you are volunteering in person, ensure you are taking every precaution possible including:
- Regularly washing hands
- Practicing social distancing
- Limiting contact as much as possible
- Speaking with the organization about their policies and procedures around COVID-19
When in doubt, defer to the advice of your volunteer managers. Not only will their insight be the most accurate, but your support will go a long way in lessening their stress during this time.
Get Started with ASC Today
Remote volunteerism and virtual volunteerism are fantastic alternatives if you’re eager to contribute to your community, while providing options for you to use some of that at-home time in a productive manner.
If you‘re interested in making a difference in the lives of others, while gaining work experience, interpersonal skills, and valuable references, then consider a volunteer position at All Seniors Care. Come be a part of this caring community and join the many volunteers who offer their service in our residences across Canada.
The All Seniors Care Scholarship
All Seniors Care is proud of the dedicated individuals who want to give back to the community by engaging with seniors across Canada. The purpose of the scholarship fund is to provide financial assistance to regular student volunteers who donate their time, talents, and skills to the All Seniors Care Living Centres communities while enrolled in school. Click here to find out more about this exciting opportunity.
You can contact us anytime for more info about this scholarship and how you can apply for it. We have housing for seniors living in Calgary, retirement homes in Ottawa and more.
To apply for a volunteer position, complete the Volunteer Application Form. If you’d like to learn more about volunteering at All Seniors Care, email Hannah Silver, VP of Health & Wellness at email@example.com.
Editor and Writer: Julianna McLeod