After many years of working, the idea of volunteering is the last thing on most senior citizens’ minds. However, research has shown that staying engaged in retirement can result in better health and prolonged life.
So often I hear people say they cannot wait to retire. Then, about a year into their retirement they are wondering how many times they can reorganize the linen closet and just how many more reality shows they can watch. If you have reached this point or feel that you have something to offer to a group or organization in your community, volunteering could be for you.
Groups such as non-profit organizations, churches, schools, and hospitals are always on the lookout for volunteers, for either short-term projects or on-going projects they have. With the many options available the big question now is where should I volunteer? Most retirees choose to find volunteer opportunities with a place that they are able to utilize the skill they used while in the workforce. Others use volunteering as an opportunity to learn a new skill that they’ve always been interested in but never had time to learn.
Whether you are a senior of modest or comfortable financial means, volunteering lends an opportunity for you to not only make a generous contribution to the community but leaves you with a sense of fulfillment.
Here are some of the volunteer opportunities available around Columbus.
• American Red Cross, has several volunteer opportunities available in local communities. For information on volunteer opportunities, they have available in your community visit www.redcross.org/support/volunteer or call 614-253-2740.
• Columbus Metropolitan Library has a volunteer program called Reading Buddies, this is an hour-long opportunity to help children in grades K-3rd with their reading skills. For information about this or other volunteer opportunities at library branches e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-849-1055.
• Ohio History Connection, community members can participate in their volunteer program for a special event, or one time shift, short term projects such as exhibits or educational programs. For a complete list of volunteer opportunities call 614-297-2392.
• The Wesley Communities also offers many volunteer opportunities at Wesley Glen and Wesley Ridge Retirement Communities as well as Hospice Services and Wesley At Home. To learn more, go to https://www.thewesleycommunities.com/giving/donate-now/
Volunteering should be enjoyed, if at any time it starts to feel like work, you might need to cut back a bit. Be upfront with the organization from the beginning of how many hours you want to volunteer. Remember any time you are able to offer is a help to the organization.
Image courtesy of David Castillo/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Though we all know death is inevitable, the grieving process is never easy. When someone you know and love passes, no one can tell you how to feel. Everyone handles loss differently.
For some, the loss of a friend is one of the most challenging losses one can experience in life. When you lose a friend, it can be extremely difficult to transition from grieving to living out the rest of your life to its fullest.
Accept that this is going to be a very difficult time in your life and that getting through it will not be easy and should not be rushed. Take all the time you need to grieve and be reassured that you will make it through.
Though there is no perfect way to grieve, there are things that might help lessen the pain of your loss.
• Think of the good times you shared over the years.
• Allow yourself to cry. Sometimes a spontaneous cry helps.
• Know that others care and will understand your pain.
• Journaling can be very helpful. Write about your friendship.
• Keep a picture of your friend near if it helps.
• Join a support group or grief counseling can offer support
• Do something in your friend’s honor, like a walk or a ride for a charity, or donation to an organization.
Remember there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, with many highs, lows and setbacks. Take as long as you need. Time is the key to healing after the loss of your friend.
Making the decision to move your parents from the home they’ve lived independently for years is a complex one, both emotionally and practically. Most of all you want your loved one to be safe and well. Every situation is different and should be handled accordingly.
In some cases, you can count on your loved one to tell you that they can no longer live on their own. In other cases, you will need to look for signs that your assistance is needed to help your loved one make the choice to move to an assisted living community.
Here are some signs to look for which are helpful in making a decision that’s not always an easy one, but a necessary one for both you and your loved one’s peace of mind.
1. Mobility Issues: You are noticing that your loved complains of falling or notice bumps and bruises that they are unable to explain.
2. Skipping Meals: Your loved one is struggling with what to cook and as a result, they are not eating. While visiting, take a quick inventory of expiration dates on foods and how leftovers are being stored.
3. Signs of Fire: Burned knobs on the stove, pots that are singed and pot holders that have burned edges. If you see any of these, calmly ask for an explanation of how they happened or when.
4. Signs of Careless Driving: If you notice that the body of their car has nicks and dents and they are not sure how they happened or when.
5. Unopened bills: If you find bills piling up in different locations could mean that your loved one is having difficulty managing their finances.
6. Personal Hygiene: When visiting, you notice him or her wearing the same outfit over and over without it being laundered. If personal hygiene items such a soap, body wash, and toothpaste are lasting longer than they have in the past.
7. Remembering Medication/Prescriptions: Difficulty in remembering what medicines to take and when to take them.
Sometimes the mention of living outside of the place they’ve called home for so long is scary. It’s important to let your loved one know that there is a difference between assisted living communities and nursing homes. Arranging a tour with one of our staff members could help you better explain the many options available for you or your loved one.
Please call The Wesley Communities at 614-396-4990 to arrange a tour, or visit us at www.thewesleycommunities.com/contact/.