TipsVolunteer Guide

Nursing Home Volunteers, What Can You Expect?

Nursing homes throughout the country rely heavily on volunteers to keep them going and without the amazing men and women who do this job, so many of our nursing homes would cease to exist, and that is a lot of seniors who will not be able to get the help and the care that they deserve. Those people who do volunteer at nursing homes are some of the most giving and most kind hearted individuals that you are likely to meet and they genuinely do make the world a better place.

Human contact is critical for health. Yet, a University of Maryland study of more than 1,400 “significant others” of nursing home residents found that the number of visits and calls by family and friends declined by half after an individual entered a nursing home. Try to imagine how you would feel if you had to leave your home to live in a new environment where you had limited or no access to your family and friends.

With this being said, volunteering in a nursing home is not as easy as it sounds and it does take a certain type of individual in order to do this well, and be able to do it for a long time. The perfect person for this type of position is someone who is naturally caring and someone who is patient. If you do decide that this is for you, here is what you can expect.

Hard Going

There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that volunteering in a nursing home is hard going and this is why you do need to have strong levels of patience in order to be at your best, and to stay sane. You could be working with people who are very dependent on you or who have degenerative diseases like dementia, which is testing.

Heart Warming

Something which so many forget about our seniors is that they are often amazing people with the most incredible stories to tell and there is a lot about caring for them which will really warm your heart. This is certainly one of the best aspects of working in a care home and it is something which so many really enjoy about the position.


Unfortunately you have to recognize the plight which many of the seniors are in, and the reality is that death will and does occur, so you will have to be prepared for that. This is something which you may see on more than one occasion, which again makes the position tough.


Every care home volunteer has spoken about the tremendous thanks which they are given by the fellow staff and by the families of those who have members staying at the care home, and for most it is this that makes the entire job worthwhile. Volunteering is about helping others and when you know that this is what you are doing, it is a very rewarding feeling indeed.