With ever increasing life expectancy, we have a society that is rapidly ageing. The number of people in the UK over the age of 80 is expected to increase by over 50% in the next decade. This means that an increasing number of elderly people around the country are benefiting from support offered by age-related charities and these charities cannot run without support from volunteers. Age-related charities are those which support elderly people or people with illnesses that typically develop with age, such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia or Parkinson’s.
There are plenty of ways you can get involved with an age-related charity. Whether you choose to keep an elderly person company for an hour or two, or help them with daily tasks like cooking and cleaning, you will be significantly improving their quality of life. As much as they will benefit from your care and attention, there is much to be gained from spending time with individuals that have lived long and interesting lives.
There are also behind the scenes roles available with age-related charities such as shop work and administrative support, if you don’t wish to get so emotionally involved.
It is likely that you will need to undergo a DBS or disclosure check if you choose to volunteer directly with elderly people but, the cost of this is usually covered by whoever is employing you as a volunteer.
What sort of roles are available?
Roles working directly with people
As a Befriender, you will volunteer to keep in regular contact with an elderly person, either face to face, over the phone or in writing, to keep their loneliness at bay. Befriending services usually ask volunteers to commit to a minimum number of hours each week to allow the relationship between you and your elderly companion to grow. Charities and services such as Age UK who offer this scheme will match you with an elderly person with similar interests to encourage natural bonding.