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Volunteer Activities Give Seniors’ Well-Being a Boost - Canadian Version

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“We just simply haven’t had time to grow old.”

How many seniors have you heard say that?

At 85 years old, that’s what Clark Paradise said to describe the life he and his wife, Jean, lead as the founders of a local charity called Your Grandmother’s Cupboard. Seven days a week, Clark and Jean stay active physically, mentally and socially by serving the homeless in their community.

Clark and Jean are a great example of the positive effects that engaging in volunteer activities can have on aging.

So what can your senior patients or clients gain from taking up a volunteer activity? And what activities can they do that are appropriate for their interests and capabilities?

Health Benefits of Volunteer Activities
Seniors can reap significant physical and emotional benefits from volunteering. According to research published on,

  • Nearly all senior volunteers feel better emotionally and physically when they volunteer.
  • Seven in 10 senior volunteers say they overcome feeling isolated and depressed by volunteering.
  • Eighty-six per cent of seniors say that staying active through volunteering helps them manage their chronic conditions.

Volunteer Activity Ideas for Seniors
The Home Instead® network has captured simple and adaptable ideas from seniors and care community professionals to create the “Give-Back” program. The program is a series of volunteer activity resource sheets that include adaptable ideas for even frail and isolated seniors to get involved in volunteer opportunities.

The program includes volunteer activity ideas that give back:

  • To the community
  • To senior care communities
  • To children

Volunteer activity idea sheets are available to download for free at

Making Volunteering Possible for Seniors
The effects of aging could make some seniors feel they can no longer give back to their community or help family and friends. But every day, older adults across North America prove that—with a little help—seniors can still make a difference.
If family members live far away or don’t have time to assist a senior in participating in a volunteer activity, recommend the services of a professional home care companion. Transportation assistance and companionship services are available for even just a few hours each week to help seniors take part in activities that will help improve their quality of life.
Learn more about the value of volunteering at and how you can recognize an active senior volunteer through the Salute to Senior Service® Contest.

Last revised: February 12, 2014

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