Volunteer by offering time, talents and a good conversation. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, just as it takes Florida Living Extended Community to help care for our senior population. While residents and staff members work together to build a strong network of care and support, we rely on our dedicated volunteers to help maintain the positive and supportive atmosphere we have created.
While volunteering in a retirement community you can meet honored missionaries, doctors, teachers, veterans, and survivors of the Great Depression. Also, you can meet a special Grandmothers who know how to bake the perfect apple pie. These people have lived the history we learned about in school. By volunteering you can learn so much.Retirement communities rely on volunteers to interact with their residents. They need volunteers to provide company for residents and assist in hosting activities like card and bingo games. If you have an outgoing personality and enjoy interacting with people a generation or two older than yourself, you might try volunteering in a Retirement Community. You might not think that volunteering at a FLRC would be all fun and games -- but it actually can be.
FLRC works with all kinds of volunteers – from students to senior citizens. Volunteers help to organize outings and activities, or just spend an afternoon hanging out with our residents. Whether you have a passion that you’d like to bring to FLRC or a skill that can be used to benefit the lives of our seniors, we’d like to hear from you.
Ways to Volunteer
1- Daily Senior Activities:
Each day, our FLRC community offers a blend of activities and outings that enrich the body, mind, and spirit. On a typical week, you will find activities such as: pray group, light exercise, food events, games, and a Christian discussion.
Our activities programming is designed to bring together residents, team members, families, and volunteers—and turn each day into an opportunity for everyone to mingle. FLRC offer options for volunteers to participate a weekly or monthly activity:
-A music concert, talent show, or movie
-Doing a craft project, give a massage session, do a photo shooting, read or walk with an elder.
-Special project like a flower bed or emblemizing a special area.
2-Big Community Groups, Student Organizations & Others:
FLRC is happy also to welcome community groups, students, and organizations willing to share their talents and interests with our residents in various volunteer opportunities available at our communities. For more information about specific volunteer opportunities, please contact the Florida Living Retirement Community with your project or asked us about a special need at the moment.
3-Volunteering Options for Kids:
FLRC is happy to welcomeparents and their children to take part in an activity that will make the entire family feel great but will also enhance the life of a senior citizen in the community.
MAKE A SENIOR SMILE- Many senior citizens do not have children or grandchildren to visit them and their spouses or friends may not be around to socialize or keep them company. Because of this, many senior citizens would appreciate a visit from families with children. Hearing a child’s laughter and seeing a child’s smiling face may be just the thing to make them feel special.
DO A CHORE FOR A RESIDENT-Children may wish to surprise him or her with some help around the house.
· Help with watering the flowers.
· Dust and vacuum the house.
· Clean out the kitchen cupboards and drawers.
· Clean out the closets and sort out items to donate to charity.
· Clean out the garage and dispose of any unwanted items.
VISIT A RETIREMENT HOME- The great part about visiting a retirement home is that many seniors can benefit from your visit. Many older adults get excited when people visit and they will feel extra special that you and your kids thought of them:
· Bring in a collection of games to enjoy together. Ideas include Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Life, Apples to Apples, Clue, Yahtzee, Sorry, or Scattergories.
· Bring in movies that both kids and adults can enjoy. Consider movies such as Up, The Wizard of Oz, Finding Nemo, Mary Poppins, and Frozen.
· Help residents put together a family tree, scrapbook, or photo album. Interview residents and include their questions and answers in the scrapbook.
· If your children are old enough to navigate the internet, spend the day teaching residents how to use computers and the internet.
· If a resident knows how to knit or crochet, ask them to teach you.
START A BOOK CLUB- A way to get seniors involved is to encourage them to start a book club. Reading is great for children, but it also helps seniors to reduce stress and improves their sleep. Reading can also enhance memory and decision-making skills. It may also delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. When you visit, walk around the facility and ask residents if they would like to join. Many libraries have book club programs where they will provide books to members of book clubs. Residents can each take turns reading the book at different times. Everyone involved will enjoy hearing each other’s different points of view on the stories.
· Great books for children that even adults love to read are The Giving Tree, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Are You My Mother?, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Poky Little Puppy, Madeline, Little Bear, and Where the Sidewalk Ends.
· Books that are great for older children and seniors include James and the Giant Peach, Charlotte’s Web, the Little House on the Prairie series, the Harry Potter series, To Kill a Mockingbird, Watership Down, Because of Winn-Dixie, Tuck Everlasting, Little Women, The Giver, and the Chronicles of Narnia series.
· Similarly, host a neighborhood book club with older neighbors and other families.
· Start a book club with a grandparent or even a grandparent and his or her friends.
INTERVIEW AN OLDER RELATIVE --You and your children probably wish you knew more about your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, or older relatives. What were their hobbies? What did they want to be when they “grew up?” Who was their first date? This information is important for children to have and it’s something that they will cherish as they grow older.
As a family, put together a list of interview questions for a senior citizen in your life. Ask them questions such as:
· What is your first memory?
· How did your parents meet?
· What did you like most about your childhood home?
· How did your family celebrate holidays when you were a child? What is your favorite holiday memory?
· How did you meet your spouse? What did you like most about him or her
· Ask them about their wedding day and honeymoon. Ask to see photos of the wedding or any special items that they have saved over the years.
· Ask about their interests and hobbies.
· Have them explain their experiences as a parent.
· Ask them about their favorite school subjects, their favorite job, or the different companies they worked for.
· Ask about their role models, favorite celebrities, and how they feel about any current events.
· Ask if there are any other important memories that they would like to share.
CREATE HOMEMADE GIFT BASKETS-There are other ways that you and your children can make a difference.
· Put together gift baskets or gift bags filled with cookies, candies, baking mixes, jams, crackers, and other fun snacks. Bring them to a retirement community and have your children distribute them amongst the residents.
· Create a gift basket with fitness tools to encourage seniors to stay fit and strong. Light weights, stretch bands, a gentle exercise video, or even a yoga mat might be good ideas.
· Create a gift basket with different types of stationary, such as notepads, pens, paper, greeting cards, tape, and folders.
· Put together a game basket with puzzles, word finds, and board games.
However, you choose to make a senior citizen feel special you will surely be making a difference. You will be so proud of your children for playing a part in helping to give back to the community and making an older adult smile.
4- Volunteering for The Holidays:
How Seniors Can Help--The holidays will be here, and with all of the shopping, cooking, decorating and merriment, it can be easy to forget about the true meaning of the season - helping one another. No matter what you're celebrating this time of year, a good way to get into the spirit is by donating in some way to those who are less fortunate. Seniors who are living in retirement homes may want to organize their friends and help provide aid to people in need. Here are some other volunteer ideas:
Start a Toy drive--Do you have memories of waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a pile of presents under the tree? Sadly, many children don't get to experience this because their families are unable to afford such gifts. Starting a toy drive is a great way to help kids enjoy the fun and excitement of holiday presents. Get in touch with a local school or charity organization and ask them if they are collecting toys for needy children. Some groups may even hand out "wish lists," which will ensure that kids receive the toys and items they want and need.
Helping the homeless-During the cold weather seasons, many homeless shelters are inundated with individuals who are seeking shelter from the low temperatures. This means that they are in need of volunteers who can serve food and generally help out around the shelter. Donating your time during this busy season, particularly on an actual holiday, can help brighten the days of people who have, for one reason or another, found themselves out on the streets.
Volunteering can be a great way to gain valuable experience in any given area, and particularly beneficial to the community.