Imagine: without a rollator you will not reach far outside your door, but family members and friends have passed away. The neighborhood supermarket has closed its doors and your children don’t live in the neighborhood. Moreover, with your sores you don’t want to bother your children. They also have to earn their living, having busy jobs and small children. You also feel a bit ashamed that you feel alone and that everything does not go as smoothly as you used to.
Loneliness and vulnerability usually do not arise from one day to the next. They are insidious processes and it can happen to anyone – rich or poor, big city or village, children or single. The consequences can be disastrous.
Loneliness increases blood pressure, the level of stress and the chance of depression. Lonely elderly people are 14% more likely to have an early death than the average person. This means that the chance of early death with loneliness is twice as high as with obese.
The care that elderly people need in residential care centers differs per person, because the problems can be very diverse. Some elderly people have memory problems, others have physical problems. Elderly people with dementia sometimes have trouble communicating. Although elderly people with dementia do not always remember what you talk with them about, they very much enjoy having a chat with you.
Keep in mind that elderly people go at things in a different pace that you are used to. Walking, talking, drinking or eating: it’s all a bit slower than how you’re used to it. So it is important to take your time and speak calmly with the elderly.
Many elderly are in a wheelchair or use a walker. Keep in mind that you will be assisting them with this. For example, make sure the walker is within reach when an elderly person stands up or push their wheelchair when walking. For some activities, supervisors may ask you to help and pick up the elderly from their (living) room and take them to the activity. For this, there will always be someone present from the institute.
Some elderly people are no longer capable of indicating exactly what they want or what they mean (going to the toilet, getting something to drink, sitting differently). If you’re not entirely sure how you could help an elderly person, or you don’t feel comfortable carrying out a task, ask the caretakers or supervisors of the residential care center. It is never the intention for you to help the elderly in toileting or taking medication! When an elderly person asks you for your assistance with this, please contact a permanent employee.
What we do
NL Cares offers flexible volunteer work for individuals and the business community. You participate in an activity when it is most convenient and choose something that is most suitable for you. This helps you get in touch with people that need extra support, such as children and youth in disadvantaged situations, the elderly, migrants, homeless people and people with disabilities. Volunteer work at NL Cares is accessible and inspiring. Meeting others will broaden your view of the world.