The range of opportunities for seniors to stay involved in their community is wide: from support in children’s and youth work or in care, to visiting and neighborhood services, dog walkers in animal shelters, or refugee assistance. Helping hands are welcomed in almost all areas of life.
- What activity do you enjoy? Is there a particular group of people, e.g. children, or a special institution you would like to connect with?
- Would you like to use your previous professional experience or learn something completely new and open up new areas for yourself?
- How much time do you want to spend? Do you want to get involved for a short time or for a longer period?
Many people in care homes feel lonely because they rarely receive visitors or are unable to take part in events for health reasons. There are many ways you can make a difference both within your care home and in the local community.
What Happens in a Care Home?
Leaving your home can be a scary thing. It’s a big step, moving away, meeting new people, and learning a new routine and layout. Care homes provide a place to live and that added-value, personal care for when we need extra support in our daily lives. That might also include help with our meals, personal hygiene, getting dressed, or taking our medication. Many care homes also offer – on top of the expected social activities – day trips and other outings. Doesn’t sound too bad!
At the center of every home, even care homes, there is a community. A care home can itself be a part of a larger community. How much you are involved depends on you. You may also find that your care home is looking for people to help them engage with their local community, too!
How to Engage with Your Own Care Home Community
Staying active in your community not only keeps you young. Any opportunities for socializing and support can help improve not only your health and well-being but that of your fellow residents. There are many ways you can make your care home a lively and vibrant place to live.
You might not have been the organizer-type before retirement, and would prefer to participate rather than shoulder the task of getting people out of their rooms. People will come to you if the activity is interesting enough. Perhaps puzzles are not as stimulating as they once were.
- Start Tai-Chi in the nearby park.
- Find one person who wants to plant a garden.
- Yoga can be contagious if you begin.
- Scrapbooking and organizing photos in the lounge is a people magnet.
- Singing. This takes guts but will bring results. Don’t start too early in the morning, though!
How Your Care Home Can Engage with the Local Community
Are you a model train buff? Are you an author? Perhaps you were a teacher or a chef before you retired. Your local community benefits from your experience and involvement. If you’re unsure how a local group can get involved with your care home, just ask. Between you both, you can find creative ways to work with other residents to organize talks, outings, and other events.
Your care home is a valuable part of and an asset to the local community and can integrate itself in many ways. Perhaps your experience in a small business or nonprofit is useful!
- Inviting local groups into the care home for meetings and events.
- Opening the care home up to the community to show off your gardens, kitchens, and other facilities.
- Bringing in grief support groups and family organizations for special events.
- Create activities that involved both care home residents and the community such as plays, readings, and potluck meals.
“Care homes should be seen as an asset in community life, with gardens, space and residents with skills and heritage that can be shared locally.” (Alzheimer’s Society)