Judy’s loved the smell of books since she was a child, her hours spent burying her nose in her favorite worn-out novel, turning the pages as if in a trance, far away from the real-world. Now in her late sixties, she relishes her time volunteering at the local library. Having grown up in Santa Clara, she knows the area like the back of her hand. Out of all her treasured spots, the library holds a special place in her heart. And these days, it’s where she finds herself most of the time—sorting books, discussing fundraisers, or chatting with folks about recommendations. The library has become her home away from home in this chapter of her life.
With its relaxed atmosphere and friendly people, Santa Clara provides plenty of opportunities for older adults to enjoy their days to the fullest. Positive energy radiates throughout the community, offering many interesting volunteer positions with local nonprofit organizations. Retired adults can easily engage in the unique aspects of the city by embracing one of the many roles available. From medical centers to food banks to libraries, there’s no shortage of places for your aging loved one to help out and lend a hand.
Volunteer Opportunities for Older Adults in Santa Clara
Whether your loved one is looking to get to know their community better, craving extra socialization, or wants a more structured routine, volunteering in Santa Clara can meet a lot of their mental and emotional needs.
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
Helping out at this local medical center can be a great opportunity for older adults to give back to their community. It’s an excellent place for those who take pride in caring for others, enjoy the field of healthcare, and have an interest in working with doctors and nurses. Particularly if your aging loved has any past experience working in healthcare or hospitals, this is a chance for them to use their skills again. The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is always on the lookout for volunteers with a positive attitude and open to working with people from many walks of life.
They offer a variety of roles for older adults, including reception work at the hospital gift shop and information desk, assisting staff with tasks in the outpatient clinics and waiting rooms, and working at the medical library. Older adults with past computer and administrative experience can be especially useful in the volunteer office, while those with a background in healthcare may eventually find themselves in more advanced areas like pharmacy and specialty clinics.
Your loved one must be able to commit to a minimum of six months (and 100 hours) of volunteer time at the hospital. The minimum commitment per week is one shift, four hours long. And since the center is open Monday to Friday during the day, potential volunteers should be available during weekday hours. In order to apply, your loved one can fill out an application form and reference form, and submit them in person or via the email address listed below. If your loved one’s application is successful, they’ll need to pass a health screening, as well as participate in an orientation session and training for their job. This volunteer opportunity will be incredibly rewarding for older adults with prior medical experience, or who want to help others while learning more about healthcare.
- Address: 751 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose, CA 95128
- Phone: (408) 885-5000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Harvest Food Bank
From teens to older adults, the volunteers at Second Harvest are made up of a wide range of ages. There are numerous volunteer opportunities at this local food bank: your aging loved one can choose between food distribution, food sorting and warehouse activities, education and outreach, administrative tasks, and helping out at special events. Depending on their personal preferences and mobility level, there should be a role here that meets their needs and abilities.
Food sorting usually involves checking, labeling, and packing food to prepare it for distribution, a good fit for someone skilled at organizing. Similarly, if your loved one is extroverted, they might enjoy education outreach and teaching community members about good nutrition. Older adults who can get around easily, meanwhile, may gravitate toward food distribution, which includes delivering food directly to people in need. Second Harvest is also very friendly toward volunteer groups, making it a perfect place to accompany your aging loved one—and maybe even bring along other family members as well.
If your loved one decides to work in the warehouse, keep in mind that it can get a bit chilly in the winter and warm in summer, so they should dress for the seasonal temperatures. To apply for a position at Second Harvest, just fill out the application forms and submit online or in person. They offer a relaxed schedule, so your loved one can choose shifts that best suit them—just make sure they contact the volunteer coordinator ahead of time if they’re unable to make a time slot. Lending a hand at this invaluable nonprofit organization can help your aging loved one feel connected to their community, meet new friends of all ages, and have fun while helping local families.
- Address: 750 Curtner Avenue, San Jose CA 95125
- Phone: (408) 266-8866
- Email: volunteerSC@shfb.org
Santa Clara City Library
If your aging loved one is an avid reader, volunteering at the Santa Clara City Library can offer them a wonderful place to spend their time. This beloved library is run by more than 250 local volunteers. There are a variety of interesting positions on offer, including bookstore clerk, donation coordinator, book sorter, and internet book shipper.
Your loved one might enjoy a customer service role where they get to help community members take out books. Perhaps they want a more active position: the library’s also in need of volunteers who can lift upwards of 20 pounds of books when organizing donation piles. Or, they can also sign up to be a book sorter. These roles are well-suited to older adults with a range of personalities and interests. For example, introverted older adults will enjoy the library’s quiet, calm atmosphere, while those with reduced mobility can opt for a position that allows them to remain seated most of the time.
Best of all, they’ll be surrounded by kind people, not to mention endless resources and entertainment. For older adults who are passionate about books, this is an ideal opportunity to get to know their local library and the community members who frequent it. If your aging loved one is interested in applying for a volunteer position here, you can get in touch with the library through the volunteer contact form listed below.
- Address: 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, CA 95051
- Phone: (408) 615-2919
- Email: Contact form
If they haven’t done any volunteering before, keep in mind that it may take some courage for them to step outside their comfort zone; however, choosing a role that’s well-suited to their personality, talents, and experience can help them move through any fears and feel excited about trying something new.
Exploring potential volunteer positions for your aging loved one is also a fun activity for the two of you to share together. With great opportunities backed by a kind-hearted community, Santa Clara is an ideal place for your aging loved one to reach out and give back.
If you’re unsure how to best support your aging loved one, Institute on Aging offers a range of programs, services, and online resources. Connect with us today to learn more.