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Even Homebound Seniors Can Volunteer

If your senior loved one enjoys crafts, there are ways for them to volunteer from home.

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Seniors who can’t leave their homes might find themselves feeling useless. But there are plenty of things they can do with a little ingenuity and help from a family or professional caregiver.

Q. My 80-year-old mom is a former volunteer of the year. It seems that she has served everyone, everywhere at one time or another. Her mind is still sharp, but she’s now homebound. Are there ways that she can still serve?

It’s great that your mom has committed her life to serving others. There are still plenty of things that she can do to feel useful. The National Service Resource Center (NSRC) ( has some wonderful ideas that you can suggest to your mother.

The Resource Center is part of a network of organizations that provide training and technical assistance to a variety of programs, funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, including those that offer seniors opportunities to serve their communities. The ideas that follow are taken from the effective practice, “Providing volunteer opportunities for homebound seniors,” which includes additional project ideas at

If your mom enjoys crafts, consider the following innovative projects, made available to the NSRC by RSVP:

  • Knit or crochet lap robes for hospital patients, nursing home patients, geriatric centers, the Red Cross or Meals on Wheels.
  • Knit “footie” slippers with non-skid pads for Meals on Wheels, hospitals or nursing homes.
  • Create “new” greeting cards by recycling used birthday and get-well cards. Cut pictures from the front and glue them onto folded paper, rubber stamp messages inside and place in new envelopes. A set of cards could be provided as a holiday gift to veterans in a local veterans hospital, who could send them to friends and family.

Perhaps your mother is interested in social service outreach projects. Consider these additional suggestions from RSVP:

  • Start a telephone reassurance program that matches seniors with other seniors.
  • Work with a school to establish a phone friend program with children.
  •   Start a pen pal program with a class in a local school.
  • Start a reminiscence club where each senior records one page of memories a week,   written or recorded for their families.
  • Assist major non-profit companies with a regular bulk mailing. Some organizations will deliver the boxes to be sorted and labeled, and then collect them later.
  • Assist in researching the history of a given neighborhood.

Perhaps your mother needs help to continue to volunteer. If so, encourage her to team up with a friend. Or consider hiring a professional caregiver. For instance, local Home Instead CAREGiversSM are often called to assist seniors with a variety of projects that can help them stay independent, active and fulfilled.

Last revised: August 2, 2011

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. April 28, 2020 at 10:18 pm | Posted by Gerard Paradowski

    Very well written post. It will be valuable to anyone who usess it, as well as me. Keep up the good work - can'r wait to read more posts.


  2. November 21, 2019 at 11:46 pm | Posted by Nancy Homcheck

    I love doing for.years. MS. Don't drive love to volunteer please at the.heights in North.Houston Is. 281. 786 7686


  3. March 8, 2019 at 8:58 am | Posted by Jeff Haller

    I have MS and don't drive much anymore. I have some duties that I take care of daily but also have a lot of time on my hands. Would love to be able to fill in those many useless hours. Got a big heart and a lot of dedication when motivated.


  4. September 30, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Posted by Katherine

    I'M TRYING TO FIND SOME VOLUNTEERS TO HELP ME. I'M A Senior who just needs a few people to assist me with standing. All I will need the volunteer to do is be close in case I need a little help and or give me my walker when I need it. I want to be Clear on this point though, I do not, DO NOT, expect them to help me when I try to stand, and when I do stand, if they would be kind enough to just give me my walker. Other than that, just their company. THANK YOU>


  5. March 22, 2018 at 9:03 am | Posted by Shirley

    I am 76 years old. I have back and foot issues. Thankfully I am not homebound, but sometimes I just don't feel like going out. I make regular and personalized greeting cards and flyers. I also write letters.


  6. December 26, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Posted by Pam

    My sister is in an assisted living facility where activities are limited -looking to find ways for residents to get involved and how that will help them.


  7. August 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Posted by Evelyn

    I am 86 years old was rear ended lasr year, because of this I no longer drive and have severe back problems. I need some thing to do so I feel useful. I do paint gourds, make cards,crochet,but this is not enough. I like people but can not walk far to visit. what do you suggest?


  8. May 7, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Posted by Diana Baker-Vevang

    I am a 70 year old able bodied woman with a car who can assist the elderly in their homes doing laundry, lite cooking and cleaning. I as as well a great reader and companion. I would love to find local work in my area in Gwinnett Country, Ga. It is lonely since my husband left and I have free time to help those in need. I have been an C.N.A. for 35 years and I am still working.


    • May 8, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Posted by Home Instead

      We admire your passion for helping others in need! The Home Instead office serving Gwinnett County, GA has current job openings for CAREGivers. Here is a link to their website where you can learn more about the opportunity and apply online or contact the office directly for more details: Best wishes to you!


  9. August 2, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Posted by t kinnaird

    I am homebound and want to help others. I love to read, love interacting with children and those with special needs. Please let me know where I can be useful. I am a 62 year old female recently disabled and really want to use my spare time to assist others.


  10. May 25, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Posted by JohnsonBarbara

    I am an 83 year old handicapped female looking for any way that I can help others.


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