August is Boomers Making a Difference Month and giving back has been linked to mental and physical health benefits. Health and wellness experts affiliated with AARP’s Create the Good program wrote on the “immeasurable difference” volunteering makes in the lives of others as well as your own. Volunteering could have positive impacts on mental health like reduced stress, decreased risk of loneliness and depression, and an increase in a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
According to AARP professionals, "over 19 million hits for articles on how doing good helps people lead better, healthier lives" can be found by doing a simple search online. Baby Boomers are thought to benefit the most from giving back.
Despite many communities fighting COVID-19 there are creative ways to give back to your community safely and get your family involved.
Create a Care Package for a Neighbor
There’s never a wrong time to be a great neighbor. Care packages are a simple contact free way to let your neighbor know you and your family care about their well-being. If you have a senior neighbor, or know of a family in need next door, create a box or basket that includes food items, snacks, or toiletries. Deliver the package to their doorstep with a nice note that shows you are thinking of them.
Shop Online for an Older Neighbor
The grocery store could be a risky trip for an elderly adult. If you are close to one of your neighbors, offer to shop for them online and pick their groceries up. Most grocery stores have started to offer free online grocery shopping and pickup or grocery delivery free or for a small fee. Offering to help the kind senior a few doors down with their grocery list could go a long way, especially if your neighbor is ill or has mobility issues.
Become a Pen Pal to an Older Adult in a Senior Community
Aging seniors often have fewer social connections. This frequently means they are missing friends who have passed on or friends after moving to a new community. Becoming a pen pal can help a senior create new friendships and connections. According to the CDC, "[s]ocial isolation was associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions." You can coordinate becoming a pen pal, by contacting a local senior community.
Donate to a Cause Online
If you are an avid social media user, consider following social accounts for local nonprofit organizations that are committed to causes you align with. As you follow and interact with an organization, you will learn more about secure donation opportunities that are often as easy as a click of a button. You can also become an advocate for those organizations and share the work they do in the community or encourage friends and family to donate and give back.
Video Call an Older Adult
There’s nothing like seeing a smiling face! As many seniors are alone at home or decidedly limiting social contact, video calls can go a long way. You can plan a game night, ice cream social, pizza party, or other fun activity virtually via video. There are a host of apps available on most mobile devices and tablets for video calls.