Seniors are people who are age 65 and up. Approximately 17 percent of the US population is considered to be of senior age. 1 in 5 Americans is 60 or older. They range from being completely independent to living in varying levels of assisted retirement communities. One of the unfortunate realities of life is that people get more isolated as they age. This happens as their friends age and die, as well as their spouse or partner. Even with a close, loving family, elderly people get accustomed to the new normal of adjusting to a more lonely lifestyle. 

As a member of your community, you have the power to make a huge difference in the life of a local senior. Many school groups and churches organize field trips to read to seniors in structured retirement homes, where they also share arts and craft projects. The best gift is companionship, regardless of the activity. Some people would love to walk and talk outdoors, feed the ducks, or play chess outside. 

Sometimes, just sitting and listening to a person can make them feel validated and heard. Many elderly people, especially once they are in a retirement home, have very few people who want to sit and just listen to all of the interesting stories of their long lives. 

For the elderly residents in your neighborhood who are semi independent, there are still many ways you can make their lives easier. Meals on wheels was founded in 1969 by a group of women who spotted a need and found a way to help. It is funded by The federal government through the Older Americans Act nutrition program. The recipients of these meals are typically low-income seniors who don’t qualify for a Medicaid waiver.

In addition to volunteering socially, being young and having a car is a huge benefit to a senior. Many of them need frequent visits to various health professionals. Driving them to and from their appointments saves them anxiety, time, and money that would be spent trying to find other methods such as public transportation. 

If you possess any trade skills, you will be an instant success by showing up to teach free classes or do demonstrations. This could be anything from hair and makeup to IT classes to help seniors learn the skill of email and facetime so they can feel closer to their families. families, etc. If you have the ability to bring in a safe, cute service animal, studies have shown that mental health improves significantly when petting a friendly dog or cat. 

You could also nominate someone for bucket list fulfillment! If they are still sprightly enough, you can help seniors achieve their dreams in their version of a make a wish club.