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3 tips for volunteering with elderly people

In the Corona crisis it became clear how important our commitment is for older generations and people who are limited by illness. We can only hope that the willingness to help will continue after the Corona period.

Because also apart from times of crisis, many older or sick people are dependent on support. This applies not only to single seniors, but also to those already living in old people’s homes and nursing homes. Often the nursing staff does not have enough time for long conversations, a walk or a common game. And so the life of many elderly people is not only monotonous but above all lonely.

That is why our volunteer platform brings together numerous opportunities that invite you to get involved for and with seniors. For example, organising joint play evenings and reading aloud in the senior citizens’ home or accompanying excursions, for example to the theatre.

So that you can decide whether a commitment with and for older people is the right thing for you, we have summarised three important points that you should know and observe when working with senior citizens.


1. Be open!

If you want to volunteer with senior citizens, according to Cathrin Redlin, Head of Social Services at former Caritas Nursing Home St. Josefsheim you should be prepared to “meet older people with very different and individual backgrounds, some of whom have lived through terrible experiences (war, hunger, death of children and spouses, …). It is important to be open and empathetic, to be patient and a good listener, or sometimes to simply be there and maybe even grieve with them.“

© vostel.de | Excursion with seniors

2. Pay attention!

Most residents in nursing homes, explains Cathrin Redlin, “are very old and often suffer from various illnesses. Some of them are already very sick, they are bedridden and in some cases hardly responsive. It is important to pay particular attention to that person. Do they want you to read a story? What are their expressions like – do they seem relaxed or tense, do they enjoy physical contact (e.g. touching hands or shoulders)? If you are insecure, you can always speak to someone from the nursing and care staff.”

Source: Unsplash

3. Suggest activities!

Most residents are happy to talk and to do activities (e.g. baking, explaining the use of the Internet or going on walks as there is usually little time left in the nursing and care routine). This is a moment to be creative and to come up with ideas yourself.

Source: pexels

You want to get involved with seniors?

Then have a look at vostel.de and discover numerous projects for and with seniors!


More tips and information on volunteering you will find in our volunteer guide or through our social media channels (FacebookInstagramTwitter). Here we will keep you up to date on everything important in the world of volunteering! So feel free to drop in there as well! 🙂


Your team from vostel.de

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