How to volunteer at a retirement homeVolunteering at a seniors home is one of the most fulfilling things you'll ever do. Whether you are a full-time volunteer or you are just there for the summer, you will see the impact of your hard work because you will probably work very closely with the residents.
Ellen Bloom has great memories of her experience volunteering at Baycrest in Toronto despite her really busy life. “I loved listening to residents’ stories. They often had so much to share,” she explained.
“Some residents were lonely. Their families were not always around, so a volunteer spending time with them and talking to them was the best part of their day. Coming home and knowing that the people whom I spent time with were not lonely when I was there was the best part of volunteering.”
Here are some tips to help you find an opportunity as gratifying as Ms. Bloom's:
Becoming a Volunteer:
- Complete the application.
- Next, a supervisor from the seniors home will probably contact you to set-up an in-person or telephone interview.
- At many seniors homes, you will need to complete a police screening. Your local police station will have more information about this process. But, it usually takes more than a month to carry out, so get police clearance a couple of months before you apply to volunteer.
- Your vaccinations must be up-to-date and the seniors home will almost certainly require that you get a tuberculosis test.
Finding and Choosing a Home:
- To find a home in your area, you may use our retirement home directory. Here, you can search for homes by city or province and care type.
- You should familiarize yourself with the care type since each one is conducive to different volunteer skills and preferences. For example, independent living may involve less frequent interaction with residents than an assisted living facility. Before applying, identify which arrangement you will find the most fulfilling.
- While volunteer coordinators will schedule around your busy life, some seniors homes will be more accommodating than others. Most importantly, you should know the duration of your position. Are you seeking a summer volunteer opportunity? Or, would you rather have something permanent?
What you would be doing:
Seniors homes have many opportunities for involvement, including:
- Performing concerts if you are musically inclined
- Playing games with visitors: Bingo is quite popular!
- Recreational programs assistant: You will work with a supervisor to create activities for residents to enjoy.
- Religious services: In this capacity, you will organize prayer sessions and chapel activities. Your religious affiliation is rarely relevant.
- Friendly visiting: You will be responsible for providing residents with companionship.
At a Glance:
- Becoming a volunteer typically involves an application, interview, police screening, and updating of your health records.
- To find a seniors home, you may use our listings. You should also learn about the types of care that your home provides.
- There are many volunteer opportunities at retirement homes in Canada. Your tasks will depend on which position you choose.