Friday, May 17, 2013

How To Volunteer in a Nursing Home

The term "nursing home" doesn't always evoke the most positive or exciting feelings at first. Full-time senior care facilities are termed nursing homes due to the fact that the people who live in them are provided with a nurse's care. Interestingly enough, nurses aren't the only caregivers. Aside from the obvious medical care, nursing homes rely on volunteers to interact with their residents. Activities run by volunteers serve as an integral part in helping residents feel at home and cared for.

So, what are the basic requirements, duties and benefits of working as a nursing home volunteer? Here are some interesting things to consider:


  • The specific requirements can vary within even a single city, so make sure you know the ins and outs of what's needed at your specific nursing home before beginning to volunteer.
  • You should love being around older people, the main purpose of volunteers is to engage the residents, and that's best done when you're enjoying yourself!
  • Knowledge of how to play card games is important, like bridge or Canasta. These are activities that take much more mental energy than a physical one, which is usually better.
  • Some positions may have age stipulations, a common age requirement for younger volunteers is 15.
  • Knowing how to steer a wheelchair is also a good skill to have when volunteering in nursing homes.
  • Some nursing homes may require more training, especially when working with hospice patients, being mentally ready for an emergency or worse is also a good idea. This type of volunteering can be emotionally draining as well.


  • Help run games, such as calling out numbers and helping players find them on their cards while playing bingo.
  • Give manicures, many elderly women love to have their nails done. It is a simple way to make someone feel young and pretty again.
  • Cleaning and tidying up is always a huge help for nursing home staff.
  • Personal relationships are so important to residents and their well being. Working with the same person and building a relationship is often the best way to go about volunteering.


  • Making new friends! Spending time with the same people consistently almost always leads to good friendships.
  • Know that you are improving the lives of the people you meet, moving away from your home and losing your independence is not an easy transition for residents.
  • Job experience, by working with a well-respected organization like a nursing home, you can add the position to your resume or list of references.
  • Invaluable service to your community.

If you are interested about learning more, finding local nursing homes or searching for local volunteer opportunities visit: