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If you want to give something back to your community, consider volunteering to spend time with seniors in your area. You can volunteer at an area senior citizens center or nursing home, or you can visit the elderly in your neighborhood. As you get more involved, these tips can help you make your time with seniors more helpful.

Be an Active Listener

Often when we listen to someone, we spend that time thinking about how we will respond, or we might just let our minds wander. When you volunteer to spend time with the elderly, it’s important to be an active listener, listening to the speaker without getting distracted. This is important because seniors want to talk with people who can feel empathy for their situations. If you can’t open your heart to the senior you communicate with, you won’t be very practical or helpful.

Don’t Feel Obligated to Help

Sometimes, there will be things a senior needs from you, but you shouldn’t feel guilty if that’s not always the case. It can be just as important to sit down and have a conversation with a senior. Even though that may not seem helpful, you have a positive effect on that senior’s health. Socializing is an important function in protecting cognitive health. Seniors who regularly socialize with others are less likely to develop dementia, and seniors who develop dementia can stave off the symptoms through regular interactions with others.

Keep Things Interesting

Engaging in various activities will help seniors get more exercise and enjoy new experiences that will help their emotional health. Arranging exciting things to do can also bring more fun into their lives. If you don’t know what to do, ask the seniors you’re visiting what types of activities they enjoy. They may want to go for a walk, knit, play a board game, or engage in other activities. Be sure to talk to the senior’s caregivers to determine if the proposed activities are permitted ahead of making any promises.

As you begin looking for volunteer opportunities in your community, you may be surprised to find out that many organizations need help. There are assisted living facilities run by the government and privately-owned nursing homes that need the extra help. However you choose to contribute, the elderly with whom you interact will be grateful for the time you spend with them.