How to Help Senior Citizens: 5 Ways to Lend Your Support

Aug 23, 2023
how to help senior citizens
Photo 153622423 © Monkey Business Images |

There are many ways seniors get involved in their communities each year, and the health benefits of volunteering as you age are well documented. Aging adults can face a number of challenges, from loneliness to failing health, which is why volunteering with senior citizens is a great way to help them engage with the community. When multiple generations come together in service, it helps bridge the age gap and everyone can come away having learned something.

Why don’t we use the term elderly?

Rather than looking at situations or people from a deficit lens that prioritizes what’s missing or what’s wrong, Points of Light prioritizes language that focuses on strength and potential, known as asset-based language.

The term elderly can evoke negative connotations and contribute to bias and ageism. Therefore, we use the term seniors or older adults in our communications.

1. Visit an assisted living facility

Spend some quality time with someone who might not get a lot of visitors by planning a visit (or even better, regular visits) to an assisted living facility. Not sure what to do? Bring along a board game, a care package, a movie or a home-baked treat. You can also consider this time an opportunity to listen and learn. Hearing from perspectives other than your own not only helps broaden your horizons and make you a more educated person but it also helps seniors who are sharing their knowledge to feel heard and valued.

2. Assist with housework or yard work

It’s common for people not to realize that stopping by a senior neighbor’s house to see if they need support is a form of civic engagement. Simple things like helping with mowing the lawn, vacuuming or other household chores or projects can make a world of difference. If you notice that their home needs a specific repair, you could ask them if they’re wanting that task done soon and gently suggest calling a repair person. However, be mindful not to overstep, and respect the autonomy your neighbor has over their home.

3. Teach computer and internet skills

Help seniors stay connected by teaching them how to email their friends and family, check the news and use social media. You might also take this time to give tips on how to avoid scams and viruses.

Read about how Daily Point of Light honoree Esther Chan is helping spread awareness about internet scams in senior centers.

4. Help with errands and transportation

Once seniors can no longer drive, it becomes more challenging for them to maintain social lives or feel independent. If you can provide a safe and reliable means of transportation, you take them to the grocery store, hair salon, doctor’s appointments or anywhere else your senior friend or loved one may need to go.

5. Participate in an intergenerational service project

A great way to connect with seniors is to get civically involved together. There are many projects that people of all ages and abilities can do: sending care packages to military members, donating used clothes and books, participating in a community bake sale, gathering items for a back-to-school drive – the possibilities are endless!

To search for volunteer opportunities in your community or from home, check out Points of Light Engage.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.