It’s easy to find great volunteer opportunities for senior citizens around the Tampa Bay area. Keeping busy in the community is very helpful for elderly people – not only does it get elderly seniors out of the house and interacting with other people, but it also gives them a feeling of belonging and of feeling useful. One of the worst feelings about growing older, is feeling as if you’ve become obsolete or that you’re an inconvenience to people. By offering volunteer opportunities for senior citizens, we help older generations to feel they are contributing to society and allow them to do something that they can take pride in.
My mother lives in a 55+ community, where they have a clubhouse and regular activities, but not all senior citizens have this opportunity. This is where volunteer work really comes in handy. Most seniors who engage in volunteer work find it to be a very fun and rewarding experience. Not sure what kinds of volunteer opportunities are available for senior citizens in the Tampa Bay area? Here are some great suggestions – and many of them apply, no matter where you live!
Churches: Many senior citizens enjoy going to church and many churches try to help out the underprivileged in the community by running food pantries and other programs. By assisting the church, senior citizens are not only staying active in the community and helping others, but they can also feel that they are helping their church as well.
Soup Kitchens: Soup kitchens are excellent volunteer opportunities for senior citizens and for people of all ages. Providing someone with a hot, healthy meal is a very rewarding experience. You can’t help but feel good after you’ve helped a person in need.
Animal Shelters: Animal shelters such as the Humane Society and the S.P.C.A. always need volunteers of all ages. While the heavy work, such as cleaning the cages and walking large boisterous puppies, is usually left to stronger individuals, there are plenty of other volunteer jobs available to senior citizens. Some popular senior citizen volunteer opportunities include showing animals to potential adopting families, supervising animal visitations and providing many animals with much-needed food, water and social interaction. In addition to the mainstream organizations, there are also many smaller-based animal shelters that can always use volunteers too, such as Friends of Strays and St. Francis Society Animal Rescue.
Hospitals: Many senior citizens enjoy working at the local hospitals around Tampa Bay. Senior citizens are often seen pushing gift carts, running the parking lot taxi cart or even visiting ill patients. There are an endless number of volunteer opportunities available at local hospitals and telling a story to a sick child can make a huge difference.
Animal Rescues: With the Gulf of Mexico on the west and the Atlantic on the right, there are lots of opportunities working with animal and wildlife rescue in the Tampa Bay area. This can involve everything from helping herd baby sea turtles safely out to the water to rescuing dolphins and birds covered in oil. Both the Clearwater Aquarium and the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary (located in Indian Shores) are always looking for volunteers.
Everywhere you look, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for senior citizens and for people of all ages. The trick is asking yourself, “How can I help?” Try to find things that you enjoy doing and utilize them in a way that can assist others – If you enjoy cooking, try helping out in a soup kitchen that feeds the homeless. If you like building things, there are many great programs out there, like Habitat for Humanity and projects where people go in and try to rebuild run-down areas of the city. Helping out can be as simple as helping plant some flowers or as drastic as helping to save a life – both help to make our world a better place to live and can help our senior citizens realize that they can still contribute and be an important part of our society. It takes people of all ages to improve our world.
http://www.seabirdsanctuary.com/ – Information on the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
http://largomedical.com/about/volunteers.dot – Information on hospital volunteer opportunities
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/aug/30/me-mango-soup-kitchen-projects-hope/ – Information on local soup kitchens
http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/tampa-bay-group-that-supplies-food-banks-and-soup-kitchens-is-on-verge-of/1039509 – Information on local soup kitchens