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Since society in general places less value on older adults, McPhail says, it’s easy to lose a sense of purpose. Volunteering offers an opportunity for both engagement and a sense of purpose in doing work that positively impacts their community, she says. “It’s critical to not just have opportunities to engage, but to find purpose again. Because when you find purpose and your group, you start connecting, thriving, and valuing your health holistically, and you have something you want to live for.” It’s especially helpful when seniors can find opportunities that rely on skills they have or things they can still do well.
Some volunteering may require in-person attendance or physical work, but those with mobility issues can find plenty of opportunities that can be done at home either online or by phone. Here are a few ideas:
- Youth programs: Some cities have programs for LGBTQ youth that need adult chaperones, facilitators or mentors at their meetings and events.
- Advisory boards: Nonprofits and government bodies typically recruit volunteer advisory boards. With regular meetings and events, being on a board only offers a senior ongoing social opportunity, plus a way to be involved in and help their community.
- Pride events: If your city or county puts on an annual Pride parade or festival, you could help them sign up to volunteer with the organization. There are always day-of needs, but there are also usually year-round opportunities for volunteers to help with planning and fundraising. McPhail notes that her organization is working with Reston Pride in Northern Virginia to help plug LGBTQ seniors in with volunteer opportunities and events.
Link them with a social and/or support group
It can be hard to meet like-minded people organically, so many areas offer organized support groups and/or social clubs that bring LGBTQ adults together. If your area has a community LGBTQ center, that’s a great place to start.