Creating Moments of Joy for Older Adults

By Denise S. Pott, LCSW
Assistance Home Care

I have a friend who, at 77 years of age, is afraid to retire. Its not that he has financial worries or insurance concerns; he’s afraid of boredom. He says “I don’t want to just sit in front of the TV”. Many people share my friend’s concerns and are looking for meaningful activities to enhance their retirement years. People of any age can experience these feelings when their day to day routine lacks purpose. Some people have hobbies that they can focus on, and enjoy the opportunity to finally pursue a particular area of interest. Other people enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and may even spend time caring for them while the parents are at work. Still others enjoy travel; some purchase recreational vehicles and take to the open road, traveling for weeks or even months at a time.

Many people find meaningful activity through volunteering. If you’re looking for a volunteer role that will bring meaning, friendship, and satisfaction, you may wish to consider volunteering with the Senior Connections Program.

Did you know that up to 60 percent of older adults who reside in senior housing receive no outside visitors! Some have no families. Many have relatives and friends who are elderly and unable to visit. Some are simply abandoned. Senior Connections was created to address this problem and relieve the feelings of isolation and loneliness felt by these seniors. Carefully screened volunteers are given a day of training and are then assigned to a particular care community where a program coordinator matches them with a resident who would benefit from weekly visits. The program operates in facilities throughout the area and typically matches the volunteer with someone who lives near their home or work.

The Senior Connections relational volunteers commit to visiting for just one hour per week for a year. They play board games and puzzles, share stories, bring pets, tell jokes, write notes to families and friends, or anything that will bring a smile. They get to know what will surprise and delight those they visit and do their best to make each weekly visit special.

It’s amazing how befriending an older adult can open up a whole new world for volunteers. Allen Serfas, President of Assistance Home Care, has been a relational volunteer for many years. He said “For the small investment of an hour a week, I have been blown away by the opportunity to get to know my good friend Rosemary….. I really became attached very quickly. I soon discovered that in aiming to bring something positive to her, I am receiving so much kindness in return. My father in law described Rosemary and ladies like her best. He said they are like flowers. “All they need is a little sunshine to brighten up their day and they lift right up and blossom in front of your eyes.”

In just one hour per week you can make an incredible difference in someone’s life and bring meaning and purpose to your own. Are you a person of any age who would like to bring a little sunshine to someone else’s day? Then you may want to consider becoming a relational volunteer with Senior Connections.

You can learn more about Senior Connections by calling 314-446-2526, or contact volunteer coordinator Sandra Roeder Singer directly at SRoederSinger@LSSLiving.org.

Assistance Home Care provides in-home caregivers that provide companionship and enrichment, and assistance with activities of daily living for older adults. If you would like more information, please call us to schedule a free consultation.
St. Charles: 636-724-4357; Webster Groves: 314-631-1989; Ellisville: 636-200-2909.