Looking for a fun, unique way to volunteer this holiday season?

Consider your local senior living community.

Feeding the hungry, stocking food pantries and other charitable efforts are often first on our minds when it comes to holiday volunteer opportunities. However, hunger isn’t the only need we see during the holidays.

Loneliness is a serious need among the senior adult population, one that can be easily diminished by simply being available.

Here are five easy ways you can make a difference in the life of a senior adult this holiday season:

1. Share your talent.

Do you have a passion for music or art? Bring it to your local senior living community. Seniors, like the rest of us, enjoy different cultural entertainment but are not always able to get out and experience opportunities on their own due to changing health. For added bonus, make your performance interactive by letting residents sing along or help make the craft.

2. Volunteer during a special event.

The holidays are just as busy and active at a senior living community as they are in the rest of the world. These near-weekly parties, outings and festive events require even more hands on deck than usual. Call your local community and ask for the activities director. They’ll be able to tell you with what events you would be most helpful.

3. Bring your service project to them.

Many seniors are eager to serve their local community, but are often unable to volunteer like they used to. You can bring the volunteer work to them by providing charitable opportunities—whether it’s collecting canned goods, making cards for adoptive families or something else—at the senior community to help residents feel engaged.

4. Introduce your kids.

It’s no secret that senior adults love having kiddos around and can benefit from the young energy. Bring your child to a local senior living community and simply visit with residents in assisted living or memory care. This small interaction will bring unprecedented joy to the seniors, and give your child a greater appreciation the senior population.

However you decide you’d like to volunteer, be sure to call your local senior living community before you visit. They can put you on the calendar, connect you with appropriate resources and coach you through what to expect during what’s sure to be the most rewarding volunteer opportunity of your holiday season.

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