Volunteering in a nursing home can be a rewarding, life-changing experience for many people and for a variety of reasons, some of which I’ve posted below. Please add your thoughts in the Comments section.
The Savvy Resident’s Guide is a quick read and a great way to get an overview of how nursing homes work and what residents are thinking. Go into the nursing home prepared. The guidebook is available on Amazon in print and Kindle editions.
1. A little goes a long way: if you can push a wheelchair safely from one location to another, or sew on a button, you can be a hero.
2. For those considering a new career, it’s a great way to see if you’re interested in working with older adults. Based on US demographics, we’ll be needing a lot of folks who enjoy working with “people of age.”
3. Feeling lonely? A nursing home is like a small town. It won’t be long before everyone is happy to see you and greets you by name.
4. It puts your problems into perspective.
5. You can benefit from the experiences of others. Learning about life from those who have lived for a while is an invaluable gift.
6. You’ll fall in love with a new oldster every week.
7. Death won’t seem so scary after a while, but rather a natural and expected passage.
8. You’ll hear living history every day, if you take the time to listen.
9. Your time commitment can vary from daily to once a year and everything in between, making it an incredibly flexible way to give back to the world.
10. As you’re referring to the “nice-looking 86-year old lady” and the “handsome new guy on the second floor,” you’ll realize you don’t look so bad either.
For more on nursing home volunteers, see my earlier posts: Why Every Nursing Home Should Have a Volunteer Coordinator (and what they do) and 9 Uncommon Nursing Home Volunteer Positions I’d Like to See Filled