Giving back

The strongest communities tend to be those in which members make a concerted effort to give as much as they get. Giving back to one’s community can foster strong relationships with fellow residents and ensure that everyone, including the less fortunate, is in a position to live happy, healthy lives.

Certain people in a community may be more vulnerable to issues that can adversely affect the quality of life than others. For example, the National Institute on Aging notes that, as men and women age, many are alone more often than when they were younger, leaving them vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. Such feelings can prove very harmful to their health, potentially  contributing to problems such as depression, cognitive decline and heart disease.

Volunteering to help the aging members of one’s community is a great way to give back, and such efforts can prove rewarding for both seniors and the volunteers who lend them a hand.

• Pull an extra chair up to the dinner table. Many a meaningful connection has been made and maintained over the dinner table. Breaking bread with a senior from your community is a great way to foster such connections and provide an avenue for social interaction for seniors. Seniors who live alone might not enjoy cooking for one each night, but they might jump at the chance to eat dinner with a neighbor and even help prepare the meal. Invite a senior over once per week, encouraging them to share stories about their lives as well as how the community has developed over the years.

• Help seniors manage their finances. Many seniors struggle to manage their finances, as laws regarding taxes and investing are subject to routine changes. A little help in this area can go a long way for seniors. Adults who want to help but don’t know where to begin can do the legwork for their aging neighbors. Contact agencies such as AARP to determine if there are any financial assistance programs that can help seniors effectively manage their money and take advantage of age-specific perks, such as programs that may help seniors lower their energy costs.

• Offer to help around the house. Seniors who reside in single-family homes may not be able to keep up with routine home maintenance. Neighbors who want to help can offer to mow the lawn, tend to the landscaping and tidy up inside. Keep an eye open for other issues, such as clogged gutters, that can be fixed easily but prove costly if they go ignored.

Helping aging neighbors is a great way to give back and build strong communities

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