More than 40 percent of seniors report regularly experiencing loneliness. Arbor’s senior living communities offer an antidote to loneliness, gently supporting seniors and providing them with a wide range of activities that nurture their bodies and minds. One of the ways we accomplish this task is through our volunteer program. We pair seniors with friends in the community who can share their interests and offer companionship. Here’s what you need to know about the volunteer opportunities available at our senior living communities.
Volunteer Opportunities at Our Senior Living Communities
Each community boasts its own volunteer program, but one thing remains constant: Every Arbor community is committed to helping seniors maintain contact with the outside world. Though many of our seniors have rich connections to families and friends, others are relatively isolated, or find that geographic distance from loved ones offers them few in-person connections. Volunteers can help bridge social gaps, improving seniors’ quality of life and renewing their sense of purpose.
We also connect with local organizations to develop other volunteer opportunities. In Georgia, for example, we’re partnering with Georgia State University to offer volunteer programs at Arbor and other senior living communities.
How Volunteers Can Change Seniors’ Lives
Loneliness is a subjective experience. It’s possible for a person to be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. For many seniors, though, loneliness stems from lack of contact with others — especially when family members live far away, spouses die, and friends are sick. Most people have experienced brief loneliness and know that it feels awful. Loneliness is more than just a painful emotional experience, though. It is a serious public health epidemic that can erode short- and long-term health. Particularly for seniors with chronic or serious health conditions, loneliness may be lethal.
Some other ways volunteering can change a senior’s life include:
- Giving them a renewed sense of purpose. Most people thrive on human connection. Feeling valued is critical to many seniors’ sense of purpose and meaning.
- Offering emotional support. Everyone needs a friend, especially during trying times.
- Something to look forward to. No one enjoys days that feel monotonous and predictable. A regular date with a senior can give them something to feel excited about.
Benefits of Volunteering
People who volunteer with seniors often find that they gain as much from the experience as the senior does, if not more. Volunteering can help you form a new friendship with someone who has spent decades navigating the many ups and downs of life, and benefit from their wisdom, experience, and advice. You may even find that they feel like a family member.
Some other benefits include:
- Better health for you. Volunteering can reduce depression and anxiety, improve your physical health, and lend more structure to your day.
- Increased perspective. When you help someone else, your own problems may feel more manageable.
- Less loneliness. It’s not just seniors who struggle with feeling lonely. More than 60 percent of Americans report feelings of loneliness or exclusion. Your friendship with a senior may be the solution to your own loneliness.
The Arbor Company has revolutionized senior living for 30 years, supporting seniors’ efforts to achieve more of their goals and lead happier lives. We know that happy seniors require thriving communities. That’s where our volunteer programs come into play. Volunteering keeps seniors and community members active, happy, and more connected. Contact us to learn more about how you can get involved.