Over the next 30 years, the United States is expected to experience considerable growth among its older adult population. In 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its estimated population of 43.1 million in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
It is more important now than ever to learn about the organizations within your community that support older adults, especially as the population continues to age. You’ll never know when you might need help or care for your grandparents, parents, family, and friends.
One of the many reasons I have spent more than 3 years volunteering with Iona Senior Services is that its services are so vital to our aging neighbors in the Washington, DC community.
My volunteer experiences with Iona have been extremely rewarding and fulfilling, as I am able to help seniors who would otherwise not be able to prepare meals for themselves or be able to afford private in- home services.
I first learned about Iona through the Junior League of Washington (JLW), which recently celebrated a 25 year partnership working with Iona. I am so grateful for this collaboration!
Through this partnership, I’ve been chairing the relationship between Iona and JLW. I am responsible for organizing Saturday morning meal deliveries, participating in Iona’s Friendly Visitor and Grocery Shopping Programs, and organizing volunteers for the Meet the Artists receptions and toiletry drives.
My favorite part about volunteering is the Saturday morning meal delivery. This is when I really get to see the impact I’m making in the community and how I’m helping to change lives. There have been many amazing moments for me on my delivery trails.
Clients often ask me about the weather, invite me in to chat and a share a cup of tea, or thank me for helping their friends. However, not all of the older adults in the meal delivery program are as cheerful. For many, my Saturday morning visit might be the only interaction they have the whole day. Many also have a hard time moving and taking care of themselves. Others are lonely or ill.
Meeting these Iona clients and hearing their stories, as well as seeing firsthand the many challenges older adults face in the District, has been such a valuable experience for me.
I have found a new perspective, and connected with a community I wouldn’t otherwise engage with.
Iona is one of the best senior services organizations in the Washington, DC area. Their mission and work directly impact over 3,000 seniors and caregivers in the area. As the older population continues to age, it is my goal to continue volunteering with Iona to help seniors have access to food and better help them age in place.
Want to give back to your older neighbors? Contact our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can join our community of care. Learn more about volunteering opportunities by visiting our volunteer page here.
By Kristen Lively
Kristen has been an Iona volunteer for three years through the Junior League of Washington. As a volunteer, she helps to coordinate Saturday meal delivery, toiletry drives, and other events.