The holidays can be hard on seniors regardless of their living situation. Between the dreary weather and memories of departed family or friends, seniors can suffer from the blues or even serious depression during this time.
What You as a Volunteer Can Do to Help
However, seniors in skilled nursing communities are even more susceptible to seasonal depression due to limited mobility or health concerns. Sometimes, families can only do so much to lift their loved ones’ spirits, especially if they are unable to make frequent visits. These limitations are why volunteering at skilled nursing communities during the winter holidays is more essential than any other time of year.
Volunteers vs. Visitors
Skilled nursing communities encourage family members and friends to visit their loved ones as frequently as possible. Still, these visitors often spend the majority of their time with the senior to whom they are connected. On the other hand, volunteers can frequently engage multiple seniors—even entire communities—with performances or holiday crafts, or just pleasant conversation.
Performances—particularly live music—are a great way to improve seniors’ moods. Most skilled nursing communities allow a wide variety of performers to volunteer.
Schools & Children’s Groups
Young people can be a rare site at a skilled nursing community. Often, just a quick sight of a child can make a resident smile. Children’s choirs, bands, and other school-based performing groups can be uplifting entertainment at a senior living community.
Many skilled nursing communities often do not have the budget to hire professional musicians on a consistent basis. As a result, volunteering your band is a great way to give back! Perhaps the senior living community can encourage friends and family members to attend, which could give your band publicity for other opportunities.
Leading a group of seniors in making crafts provides socialization and will make residents feel productive. There are plenty of affordable senior-friendly craft ideas online to consider, including:
Happier Seniors = Healthier Seniors
Emotional health is just as important as physical health. Often, seniors who are happy and optimistic are more likely to live healthier lives. This is why volunteering at skilled nursing communities is important and beneficial to seniors. Not to mention, it’s also a fulfilling experience for those who are willing to donate their time!
Contact Bethesda to learn more about our volunteer opportunities and other ways to give back this holiday season and throughout the year.