It may seem paradoxical for a retirement community to be writing about jobs for senior citizens. After all, most people probably aren’t interested in seeking employment opportunities once they’ve retired. They’re ready to pursue other types of activities for seniors.
But, in reality, there are certain kinds of jobs that are ideal for older adults, including those in senior living communities. Although these jobs may not come with a paycheck, there are other benefits that can pay off handsomely. Plus, they typically come with flexible hours — a key consideration for most people who are retired.
Many of us have charities and causes we believe in and want to support. During the years when we’re working to provide for our family and build a nest egg for the future, there may be precious little time to devote to the causes and organizations we’re drawn to.
After the children are on their own and we no longer have to focus so much of our time and energy to earning income, it’s usually easier to give some of our time “away” to help others. Volunteering can help us maintain a sense of purpose no matter what our age may be. It also feels good to know we’re making a difference in someone else’s life, in our immediate community or in the world around us.
Here in the Woodland Hills area, you’ll find all kinds of organizations that are eager for volunteers. One way to narrow your choices is to decide what would bring you the most enjoyment.
Do you want to help other people your own age? Children? People who are down on their luck and maybe have lost their home? Animals in shelters or wildlife? The planet?
What really tugs at your heartstrings? Once you’ve answered that, you probably won’t need to look very far to find ways to pitch in and make things better for an individual, a family or the future.
Most communities have food pantries, food banks and/or food kitchens that work to keep people from going hungry. While these organizations are always grateful for donations of food or money, they also need people who can donate their time.
For example, the West Valley Food Pantry here in Woodland Hills welcomes volunteers who can help bag and distribute food to families in need. The organization has redesigned its operations to keep everyone safe while still working to meet the increased demand during the pandemic.
As another example, the Family Rescue Center in Canoga Park provides food, clothing and other essential services to low-income families and those without a home in the West San Fernando Valley. Volunteers can help by sorting clothes, stocking the pantry shelves, assisting with filing and data entry in the office or working at an event the center sponsors.
Some older adults find that being around people from younger generations, and children in particular, helps them keep a youthful outlook on life. It’s also a great way to keep up with current trends and even the latest technology. If you have grandchildren, then you can probably relate.
But what if you don’t have grandchildren or don’t get to see your grandkids as much as you’d like? Have you thought about volunteering at a school? Although there may be limited opportunities right now because of the pandemic, eventually there will be more. Even working one on one with a child who needs tutoring can be immensely rewarding — for both you and the child.
You could also check with your local public library about possible volunteer opportunities. Reading to a group of young children an afternoon or two a week could be a lot of fun for you and for them.
If you’re looking for a way to contribute to your community that doesn’t specifically involve children, then maybe being a poll worker would be a good option. Polling places have traditionally relied heavily on older adults to help out during elections because of their availability to be there during the workday.
In some instances, when the same people tend to work at a polling place from one election to the next, new friendships develop. You could also talk a friend you already have into working at the polling place with you.
Whether you’re lending a hand at the local food pantry or making new furry friends at a nearby animal shelter, it’s obvious how your efforts are helping to make things better in your community. What might not be so obvious — at least not right away — is the good you’re getting from it.
As we noted earlier, volunteering can help give you a sense of purpose. Sometimes when older adults find that their career is in the rearview mirror and their children have a family of their own, it’s easy for them to slip into a routine that consists mainly of couch surfing. Having a “job” — even if it doesn’t pay you in dollars and only requires a few hours of your time each week — gives you a good reason to get out and about.
Engaging with your community can have other benefits as well. It can:
These are only a few of the ways that community involvement can add to your quality of life. Once you get started, you’ll no doubt discover more.
The Variel is shaping up to be one of the premier retirement communities in California. Our elegant, upscale environment, impressive array of amenities and convenient location within Warner Center will set us apart from other senior living communities near and far.
We’d love to tell you more about the lifestyle you can enjoy here at The Variel. All you need to do is contact us and we’ll be in touch!