Older people are often the backbone and heart of our churches, generously volunteering their time and enabling us to offer community activities and look after those in need. For some older people, who live far from family and friends, or who have few friends still around or able to visit, volunteering at our centres becomes a lifeline. We believe the involvement of older people at our centres helps to combat potential loneliness and isolation.
While we provide support to older people who are vulnerable or in need, we also acknowledge that many older people have a huge amount of talent and skills that they developed before and after retirement. Therefore, we welcome their contributions and realise that their wisdom and knowledge is invaluable and crucial to the running of our churches and centres.
In retirement, many people want to “give something back” to their local community and to help those who are in need of a friendly face and listening ear. Others may need practical support from The Salvation Army or wish for the friendship and welcome that our centres provide.
Many retired people volunteer for us across, from working behind counters and sorting clothes in our charity shops, to serving food to people in need. Volunteers are the backbone of our community centres, charity shops and drop-in centres and help us support local communities throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. We value and appreciate all our volunteers do and hopefully, they also find it a very rewarding experience.
As well as opportunities for volunteering, there are activities for retired people to be involved in to meet others of a similar age. For example, at Dunstable Salvation Army there is a weekly coffee morning, as well as an over-60s friendship club with lunch and an over-75s day centre for those who live alone or in circumstances where opportunities for meaningful social interaction are limited.
Older people's services
The Salvation Army engages with older people so that together we can make later life a time of fulfilment and enrichment. We provide a holistic and person-centred range of care services to support people in their transitions into retirement, into frailty and towards end of life. Our programmes, delivered through our network of churches, community centres and residential care homes, are designed in consultation with our service users so that the care we provide engages the whole person and addresses their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
The Public Affairs Unit monitors issues affecting older people and the support we are able to offer them. We are especially concerned for the most vulnerable and disadvantage older people in our communities; those who may have no one else to speak on their behalf. Working alongside like-minded groups and individuals, we consistently lobby politicians and policy makers on topics such as funding for social care, the national living wage for carers and social isolation.[Read more - In the lead-up to the General Election on Thursday, 8 June, we have been working to highlight the key issues affecting Adult Social Care]