Have you found yourself at a time in your life when you have time on your hands?

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Do you find yourself wondering or wanting to do something more meaningful with that time that helps someone else? – Then volunteer!

Now is a great time to volunteer. We all know that Winter months can feel dark and lonely, even more so at the moment. It’s dark outside, and cold and the news is full of not-so-positive stories.

Volunteering gives a sense of purpose; it enables us to build wider social groups and helps give us a routine.

All of which lift our mood, raise our self-esteem and improve our overall well-being.

You may have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s an idea in psychology presented by American Psychologist Abraham Maslow. It’s a model of 6-8 layers where humans progress through each layer throughout their lives to a point of self-actualization or higher; not necessarily achieving all or staying in one place throughout our lives. These layers include such things as ‘safety’, ‘belonging and love’, and ‘esteem’.

When we don’t have good self-esteem or don’t feel like we belong somewhere or don’t have something in our lives to love, we can feel somewhat lost.

Does that sound familiar?

Throughout life, our roles change and there can be times when we want to give back; when we need something more.

In 2018 my mom died. Throughout her life, she had been ill and my Dad had taken on a caring role; one which over her later years had become a full-time role. I’ve noticed how over the last 6 months he has commented more on being lonely, and not having a purpose; even to the point where a few weeks ago he stated to me ‘well what else am I doing apart from burning a hole in the backside of my trousers’. What he was really saying was that he was bored, didn’t have a purpose, and was whiling away his days sitting, just sitting.

Something needed to change. He saw a little ad in the local village paper asking for volunteers, volunteers to take key holders responsibility for the local church for a couple of weeks every few months throughout the year. We spoke about it, and he threw his hat in the ring. When he found out that his offer of help had been accepted, the animation in his voice was palpable. He was needed, he still had a purpose.

Only last weekend we woke to snow. I needed to take my daughter to work and I was nervous about doing so in the snow. The last time I drove in the snow was when the Beast from the East struck and the tale of my journey home is something I can dine out on for years! So, back to last Sunday. I rang Dad and asked for help. He jumped at the chance; maybe because he got to be a big kid and take his jeep out into the snow for the first time and most definitely because he felt useful, and needed. He had a purpose in his day.

Having a purpose gives us a direction, and helps propel forward progress.
Volunteering can give this. It can also give us an opportunity to acquire new skills, and expand our knowledge and awareness. It can also open you up to new communities.

Over the past few years, Social care has had challenges. Many of those are due to Covid and the importance placed on preventing or reducing Covid outbreaks. We saw many homes having to close their doors to visitors. That is changing and, in many homes, it has changed.

So, now is a great time to volunteer in your local care home. They need new faces and the people that live in them, need to see new faces; faces that have been absent for too long.

Staff need new conversations, exposure to a different perspective and to see new smiling faces. New voices need to be heard, and ideas created with a new vision.

So, If you find yourself at a point in your life, maybe you are retired, or the kids have just left home and you have more time on your hands, why not think about volunteering in your local care home?

Your local care home needs you!

Give them a ring and have a chat.