Living Senior: How To Give Back With AARP
Now that the generation of baby boomers has officially “made it”- that is, acquired wonderful homes, a financial safety net and exciting careers- they will undoubtedly search for ways to make life more meaningful.
AARP has partnered with Faith In Action to bring together volunteers who can assist those people with long-term health needs. These privately-based, communal efforts keep older adults independent and in their homes for as long as possible.
About 81 percent of adults over age 65 wish to stay in their homes for as long as they can, according to AARP. Unfortunately, when debilitating physical conditions arise with old age, individuals become less mobile and their list of needs grows rapidly.
Della Reese, a nationally renowned actress, singer and ordained minister who is involved with the partnership, spoke at a recent conference about an acquaintance of hers who needed little more than a helping hand.
“This older woman had been sitting in the dark for days, all because she couldn’t get up to the stool to change the light bulb,” she said. “Things that would be so easy for you to do are very important to these people. You may not think you’re going big things, but you’re doing big things that keep her from sitting alone in the dark. You’re doing big things to give people food that keeps them alive. They’re all big things.”
Many people believe that the wealthy state of our country indicates that all its citizens’ long-term health needs are being met. This is not so, according to AARP volunteers.
Thousands of older Americans are in need of rides to doctor’s appointments, help with home maintenance projects, and companionship for shopping and hot meals. If neighbors combine efforts to help other neighbors, the community spirit ensures every need will be met without requiring seniors to leave home or spend their limited income.
According to AARP findings, about 1 in 5 adults who are over the age of 65 can no longer drive. This leads to a greater chance of entering a long-term care facility, and puts them at risk of being less involved in their community. Simple human contact from the thousands of volunteers helps satisfy the physical and emotional needs of older individuals.
Recipients of the care are usually signed up by trusted friends or family members, and volunteers undergo extensive training coordinated by AARP and Faith in Action. These new and meaningful community service efforts give satisfaction to the recipients of care as well as the volunteers themselves.
For more information about how you can get involved and give back to your community, please visit www.aarp.org or www.faithinaction.org. You will more than likely find that the rewarding feeling that comes with donating your time will be unparalleled, and thousands of fellow community members will benefit from your generosity.