5 Valuable Ways Youth Can Donate Their Time to Help Seniors

Young people can volunteer to help seniors who cannot leave their homes.

Apr 12, 2020

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In today's world of social distancing and an almost global lockdown, isolation increases loneliness, especially for elderly people. Young adults and teens can step up and donate their time and attention to our vulnerable (and beloved) senior citizens, ensuring we all stay connected and help each other to get through this pandemic together.

Stay connected

Be the reason that someone smiles today. Staying connected with each other during this time is vital, as loneliness can begin to kick in after spending long periods of time by yourself. Let older people know you are thinking of them by sending a thoughtful letter or making a phone call. Keeping your social distance is essential, but you can still check in on your family or neighbors to keep an eye on their well-being. Seeing a fresh face from the balcony or window could brighten their entire day!

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Deliver groceries

The recent coronavirus pandemic has called concerned citizens to action. People have provided an abundance of support to our most vulnerable. Throughout the US charities offer an array of free services that connect older adults with youth who donate their time to help those in need. For example, Invisible Hands – a support group in New York and New Jersey was created by a team of healthy young adults –  connects volunteers with elderly people to assist them with their essential grocery shopping. 

With many major stores shutting down, running low on stocks, or attracting crowds of people looking to stock up, supermarkets have become a high-risk environment, especially for those over the age of 60. This is where the World Economic Forum said youth can step up and organize grocery deliveries for community members who need to stick to stricter quarantine measures. 

By connecting with elderly people, you can find out what they need, then go to the supermarket and stock up on essential supplies for them. For your own safety, look for new protection protocols, like OpenTable’s recent feature that allows shoppers to reserve a spot at the grocery in advance.

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Monitor medical supplies

Now, more than ever presents the time to monitor the medical supplies of seniors to ensure they are covered for the upcoming weeks. With limited freedom to venture out to the doctor’s and pharmacy, make sure to check in with seniors in your community to see that they are well-stocked with regular medications. Taking extra precautions can provide additional safety, so make sure you bring hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to clean anything that enters the home and encourage frequent use.

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Teach technology

In today's digital world, the majority of our communication moves between digital devices. Phones, laptops, tablets, and virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Echo all provide a source of communication between us when we are apart. 

With social distancing in place, why not teach your older family members and neighbors the latest technology? By setting up an account and demonstrating how to use apps such as Skype, Zoom, Alexa, WhatsApp, and Facetime, people can enjoy the virtual company of others while still distancing themselves. Catching up with loved ones or having a chat with a distant friend can lift someone's spirits, who make them feel less lonely during this time of isolation. 

 

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Create a Light Me Up list

While elderly people should stay at home for their own safety, youth can help them create a Light Me Up list to introduce some positivity into their days. By connecting with the older generation and finding out what makes them happy, you can create a list of things that they can practice each day to put a smile on their face. Whether it's a 10-minute meditation to promote relaxation or getting creative through painting, drawing, or writing, having a list to turn to can do wonders for mental health. It's all about lifting each other up during stressful times. 

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.