Helping older people
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • Many people need help as they grow older. This may be physical help with things like shopping, getting meals, going to hospital, or social and mental stimulus through visiting and going to clubs. 

  • Many of the organisations, who provide these kinds of help, use volunteers on a regular or occasional basis. You can also be an informal carer for older family and friends.

  • Some of the organisations that provide care for special groups also cover older people.  This is particularly so for certain health support groups.

  • Much of the work involves basic activities, though there is also scope for volunteers in special counselling and advisory services.  Other activities in which volunteers often participate include fund raising and administration.

Find out more


Age Concern
Alzheimer's Society
Help the Aged

See also the organisations listed under Volunteering



We have not managed to identify any magazines dealing specially with this type of helping.  But the organisations listed above have newsletters for their members.

More information on the health problems that the organisations deal with can be found on various health based web site such as


Getting started

  • Find a local group or club that provides help and care for older people (see organisations above).

  • See if your local group offers introductory sessions or events.  Take a class or course relevant to the needs of older people at your local adult education centre. 

  • Consult books or magazines on different aspects of the needs of and care for older people.

  • Check in your local library/paper or volunteer centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • People of all ages and both sexes can volunteer to help others who are now in the older age groups.  There is no need to have special skills or knowledge but many groups offer volunteers training in caring and giving advice.

  • You will be in contact with people from the older generations who have a wealth of interesting experience to share. 

  • You can find the people who need help either by contacting the specialist organisations or through your own friends and family.

Equipment or clothing
  • As a volunteer you don't need to have any special equipment, though volunteer drivers often use their own cars. 

  • Some organisations like you to wear badges or clothing to identify yourself.

A place or facilities
  • You can help in people's homes, by taking/driving older people where they want to go, or by working in a social centre or residential home.

  • Fund raising and administration will generally involve activities locally, with some work at home.

Have a go - get started now

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