“How was your afternoon?” I asked, thinking how happy she looked.
“Lovely!” she replied. “I finally finished weeding the garden at the senior center, and I added a new row of petunias to the flower bed.”
“I didn’t know you gardened there.”
Gardening was Grandma Carol’s passion. Her own front yard was filled with a profusion of daffodils, petunias, roses, and other beautiful flowers, and I wasn’t surprised that she had brought her hobby to the senior center as well.
“I volunteer there once a week,” she explained as she sank into a comfy chair. “I enjoy my Wednesday afternoons there so much! I’ve been teaching the staff members about different kinds of flowers, and today one of them even asked me if I could give some lectures on gardening.”
I smiled. I could easily picture Grandma Carol holding forth on the importance of proper sunlight and regular weeding. I was intrigued by the fact that she was volunteering too. She seemed so delighted to be contributing to the community.
Personally, I volunteered at the local soup kitchen for a few hours each month, and I knew that they were regularly short on staff. Finding reliable volunteers to help was a genuine challenge, and it occurred to me that our searches were perhaps overlooking a segment of the population that might genuinely want to be useful, and that might have some time to spare. We were overlooking the senior population. I asked Grandma Carol what made volunteering such positive experience for her.
“There are so many reasons that I enjoy it,” she explained. “When I was younger, I didn’t have time to volunteer. I had kids, and a job, and husband to look after, and there was no time for anything else. So last year, when the staff at the senior center was looking for someone to help out with the garden, I thought how nice it would be if I could finally help the community, now that I have more time on my hands. I get to help others and meet new people, and I feel as though I’m doing something useful. I’ve even learned a few new things from the staff members.”
Her last comment made me laugh. I couldn’t imagine anyone teaching Grandma Carol about gardening. Her comment made sense, though. Volunteering really did have many benefits. It gave people opportunities to help their fellow citizens, share their skills and talents, make a difference in the community, and interact with others. It also makes them feel needed. So many seniors, I reflected, might benefit themselves as well as others by giving of their time.
I decided that when I went back home, after this visit with Grandma Carol had ended, I would talk to the local senior center and ask the staff knew of anyone who might be interested in volunteering at the soup kitchen. Perhaps one of the local seniors would have a passion for cooking! We could use a few senior heroes.
Volunteer Houston matches willing individuals and groups to agencies and institutions that need their help. You can search for opportunities by location, cause, for group opportunities or by age. by going to www.volunteerhouston.org.
We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.