As humans, we all need to feel like we have a purpose in life — a reason to live. We need to know that our lives matter — no matter our age. For many of us, that manifests in the feeling of being needed.
But as we get older, it might feel more and more like we are in need of others, rather than that others are in need of us.
Enter Senior Corps — a way for older adults to stay active, feel needed, and bring back a sense of purpose.
What is Senior Corps?
Senior Corps is a nationwide network of service programs run by volunteers that are 55 years old or older — thus giving older folks the opportunity to serve others and significantly change lives for the better.
Senior Corps operates three specific programs: Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP. By participating in these programs, volunteers recreate and maintain a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.
Being active in Senior Corps also helps volunteers facilitate a sense of community, as they meet new people and create new relationships. And two of the programs — Senior Companions and RSVP — also provide stipends and other ways to offset costs that arise of from volunteering. Training and insurance is also available.
The Foster Grandparents Program
Senior Corps’ Foster Grandparents Program is an opportunity for those 55 and older to actively serve the youth within their communities. Foster Grandparents compassionately act as role models, mentors, and friends to children who have various needs. Services include tutoring, guiding troubled teens, assisting young mothers, caring for infants and children with disabilities, and helping those who have been abused or neglected.
The Senior Companions Program
Senior Corps’ Senior Companions Program is a way for people 55 and older to offer other seniors friendship and companionship, as well as assisting them with everyday tasks, like cooking, cleaning, or shopping. The program hopes to bring relief to family caregivers, while helping the senior stay as independent as possible for as long as possible. To do this effectively, volunteers get training from the organization they participate with to offer the care, receive supplemental insurance, and might even qualify for a tax-free hourly stipend.
The RSVP Program
Senior Corps’ RSVP Program allows adults 55 and older to put their skills and years of experience to work in order to help others in a variety of ways. The program is one of the largest of its kind in America. Opportunities to serve include renovating homes, helping to organize neighborhood watch programs, teaching English, and helping people after a natural disaster — just to name a few.
While RSVP volunteers cannot receive money in return for their assistance, other means of support, such as reimbursement for costs while volunteering, might be available in certain circumstances. They also receive any additional training needed and supplemental insurance.
By volunteering for these programs, older adults can continue to actively serve others, while serving themselves as well. For more information on Senior Corps and to find out how to join one of Senior Corps’ programs in your state, click HERE.
Information courtesy of nationalservice.gov.