It’s known that volunteering makes a huge difference in the lives of others. It also has huge health benefits for those serving. Because of both of these factors, as a caregiver, you might be looking for ways that you can serve alongside your parent, maybe even including grandchildren, so that you can help others while also helping all of you live healthier lives. Some of the health benefits from volunteering are:
- Decreasing the risk of depression
By increasing social interaction among yourselves as well as those you serve, and meeting others who have common interests, you create a community to support one another when hard times hit.
- Increasing self confidence
Those who volunteer often enjoy a sense of purpose and fulfillment, reminding them how important they are to their family and community. This can be a great health benefit to an aging parent who has begun to feel irrelevant or “useless” now that she is older.
- Improving physical and mental health
Even the most laid-back type of volunteer activities requires movement and the mental commitment to perform them. Sometimes the first step of heading out the door and leaving the home can be the most beneficial one. Parents who have a hard time doing activities to keep themselves healthy may find that volunteering gives them a sense of obligation that then also benefits them. Bringing younger grandchildren or nieces and nephews with, will increase your parent’s desire to participate and possibly be even more active in the activity.
- Reducing stress levels
Volunteers tend to look forward to their serving time together and the “good work” they’ve done. These types of positive activities can take the mind off other more stressful realities in your parent’s life and in yours. Having this opportunity to build up those good-feeling dopamine levels, will help when other events are hard and stressful.
The task is to find out what you as a family can do to volunteer together. As your parent’s caregiver and child, you know what things in life have brought your family together and given all of you joy and purpose. You can look at volunteering at places that you have visited in the past or have used the services of in the past. Many places have family-friendly volunteering opportunities so you can do it together. Ask your family members if they have places they know of that they’d like to volunteer and then connect with those areas to find out any rules they may have as well as to set up an official date and time to volunteer together. Some possible ideas are:
- Cleaning up a local park or adopting a freeway to clean,
- Planting or maintaining a garden for others,
- Serving at a local pet shelter,
- Creating cards or writing letters for elderly people in long-term stay facilities, the military or children’s hospitals, or
- Creating gift bags or gift baskets for local shelters.
The important thing is to find volunteering opportunities that safe, good for all ages and unite your family in an activity that everyone believes is beneficial to the community around you. Don’t be afraid to try a few until you find the right fit or to even create a brand-new service that is unique to your family dynamics.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Charleston, SC, contact Heart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116. Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens, Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas.