Giving 60 minutes to the elderly can have a real impact

By giving just one hour of your time, you can help a senior live independently in your community.

By giving just one hour of your time, you can help a senior live independently in your community.

Volunteering is an easy way to give back to the increasing number of older Americans who rely on services and social activities within their communities.

The number of older adults in this country is growing at a fast rate. Roughly 11 million seniors are living alone in their homes, and nearly 1.5 million seniors are in nursing homes at any given time, according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Administration on Aging.

Many older adults require assistance with daily activities and report having functional limitations that can make staying in their homes difficult without assistance.

More than 20 percent of all adults aged 75 and older had 10 or more visits to a doctor or other health professional in the 12-month span. Often, these limitations in activities because of chronic conditions increase with age. To remain active in their communities, many seniors rely on programs such as meal delivery, adult day activities and other social programs.

Seniors in nursing homes use services to connect with their communities. These programs often need volunteers, and volunteering can be a fun and easy way to give back to the community.

That’s where the Got an Hour? Give it Back Campaign comes in. It was developed by the Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative through a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging to help agencies throughout the country attract volunteers to programs that work with seniors.

The campaign’s website includes a search feature to help connect volunteers to opportunities in their neighborhood.

Volunteering can be as simple as driving an older neighbor to the doctor, bringing him a meal or helping her with housework.

You can spend only 60 minutes of your time, but the effect can be infinite.

The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative is a national re­source center that helps leaders in the aging and disability networks engage talented older adult volunteers to meet growing needs for services.

To find programs and events nearby, visit