Volunteer with Senior Citizens Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad with Senior Citizens

When weighing the options for volunteering abroad, volunteers often begin with the decision of what age group to invest their time in. In many countries, it’s not just children but also the elderly, that are left neglected or in vast need of resources to help manage their day-to-day needs. The number of elderly individuals in need has increased over the years in countries with large aging populations especially. Those who volunteer with senior citizens can look forward to spending quality time with elderly individuals and actively finding ways to improve their quality of life. Volunteering abroad with senior citizens involves a great deal of patience and the ability to inspire happiness.

Why Volunteer Abroad

There are numerous reasons volunteers should consider devoting their time to senior citizens around the world. An obvious but dismissed truth is that they do need care and attention to prolong their life and live happily. While many Western countries typically have governmental programs and financial assistance to support elderly populations, many developing nations do not. The shortage of these programs and professionals devoted to the needs of aging populations equates to a high need for volunteers. Not only will those who volunteer with senior citizens provide necessary emotional support, teach new skills, or assist with medical needs, volunteers will work to provide a healthy environment for seniors to socialize and thrive. Volunteering abroad with senior citizens is your chance to truly make a difference and give senior citizens something to look forward to, the resources or help they need, and activities to brighten their daily life.


If you choose to go to South America, Africa, or Asia, there are numerous volunteer opportunities working with elderly populations, due to high levels of poverty, war tearing through the country, or a simple deficit in resources. 

In Peru, for example, senior citizens are in need of vast help to counter malnutrition and isolation from society. Individuals who volunteer with senior citizens in Peru will be focused mainly on teaching senior citizens the importance of a healthier diet and utilizing resources to enhance their health and well-being. Warm smiles and positive attitudes are a must for this type of placement, and will definitely boost the morale of elderly individuals and provide the emotional support they need.

Senior citizens in Argentina who live in shelters or homes often are simply looking for someone to cheer them up and foster a positive living environment. Those who volunteer with senior citizens in Argentina will typically help seniors carry out their day-to-day tasks, and also come up with new activities for seniors to spend high quality time together. If you enjoy playing checkers, chess, pool, or shuffleboard, you may enjoy teaching senior citizens how to play or playing these games with local seniors.

South Africa has a large senior population in massive need of healthcare due to poverty and political issues which impede them from living a healthy life. Volunteers in South Africa will often act as ambassadors of peace, assist with implementing new health practices, or spend genuine time with senior citizens providing them with care and support. 

Countries in Asia, such as India, are constantly in need of volunteers to work in local centers that provide essential care and support for senior citizens. Volunteer work with senior citizens in India is usually vital to their well-being, such as medicine distribution or care for individuals suffering with disabilities, therefore the utmost dedication and patience is needed. 

In addition to the countries named above, there are endless options that have just as much need. Most any country that experiences poverty or economic issues will need volunteers with an open mind to volunteer with senior citizens and make the best of the resources available. 

Volunteering with Senior Citizens

It goes without saying that many of the organizations who house seniors run solely because of volunteer assistance. Many of these organizations, or homes for senior citizens, are in dire need of volunteers to help maintain the health, wellbeing, and at times medical care of residents. Some volunteer programs at elderly care centers may request that volunteers help senior citizens in showering, dressing, eating, and other basic activities that you may take for granted in your own daily life. Tasks will vary based on your skill set and how comfortable you feel with the task (i.e. providing medical treatment is not required if you are not qualified). Your time is valuable and will make a tremendous difference in the lives of program coordinators, home managers, and of course in the lives of the senior citizens you work with.

In very rural areas of developing countries, it is also common for senior citizens to need help maintaining their daily needs, such as bathing, eating, and cleaning. Many placements volunteering with senior citizens, will also give volunteers the chance to tap into their creative side, by coming up with activities that allow senior citizens to get crafty, creative, and remain active.

Basic knowledge of the language is not required in most senior citizen volunteer programs, but it will go a long way in working with locals and building meaningful relationships. The majority of programs and organizations that advocate for and provide volunteering opportunities with senior citizens have one thing in common: they are open to participants worldwide, as long as volunteers have a big heart.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Professional & Educational Development. Setting time aside to volunteer abroad with senior citizens will not only be fulfilling, it will also enhance your education and work experience. When applying for jobs in the medical, nursing, counseling, or the special education fields, volunteer experience with seniors will be something recruiters or potential employers will notice. If beginning a career in medicine or in special education, getting the hang of things can be challenging and tough, but volunteering abroad with seniors can be good preparation for careers in the latter fields. 

Cross-Cultural Experience. Volunteering with senior citizens will not only teach you discipline, it will also teach you how to interact with people outside of your comfort zone. It will also provide you with a unique chance to practice your language skills or develop knowledge of a new language. While working with elderly individuals you will even be able to learn specific idioms and customs, and you will get a personal and tailored experience unlike any out there.

If you choose to volunteer abroad with seniors, rest assured that you will gain the pulse, rhythm, and the heartbeat of that country from the wisest population. This experience will personally enrich you just as much as exploring and crossing off bucket list destinations would. Consider volunteering abroad with senior citizens and get ready to crack a smile and spread hope!

Read More

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad with Senior Citizens


 Find Senior Citizens Volunteer Programs Abroad Now


This listing has been saved 2 times

GoEco – Volunteering Tours For 50+

Whether you are a recent retiree or you are simply checking off your bucket list, volunteering abroad is an essential life experience and a great excuse to travel! Apply the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired over the years and have a huge impact on a cause you care about! Many of our programs can be tailored to suit your needs and interests, so its time to enjoy a fantastic adventure!

GoEco Senior Citizens

This listing has been saved 5 times

Teaching and Community Assistance in Victoria Falls

Volunteer in teaching and community assistance projects in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The project has a diverse range of activities that volunteers can become involved with. At the orphanage, volunteers will be interacting with children on a daily basis, providing them with extra lessons, playing games with them, and helping to provide one-on-one attention. Volunteers will also have the opportun...


This listing has been saved 325 times

Volunteer Abroad & Make a REAL Difference - From US$175!

Find our Why More and More People are Choosing to Become a Love Volunteer! Love Volunteers is the most affordable way to volunteer and help local communities in developing countries! Why are we cheaper than other organisations? Firstly, we are just a handful of passionate people working hard to help volunteers and local communities around the world. We don't have huge overheads - no company ...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Volunteer For Children at Day Care Center in Peru

As a volunteer in this program you will be involved in the day to day care of the children and be involved with playing with the children, running many types of craft activities, teaching some English too or arranging creative activities such as drawing or arts and crafts. You need to help these kids to develop their skills in order to be ready for kindergartens. The day care centers are open M...


This listing has been saved 19 times

Building in Nepal with Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad, a worldwide leader in international volunteer programs, has worked in Nepal since 1999 and has long-standing relationships with many organizations in Chitwan, Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Valley, and Ghandruk, especially with schools, children’s homes, and hospitals. As a response to the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015, Projects Abroad has set up a Building project in Ne...


This listing has been saved 6 times

Rural Medical & HIV/AIDS Awareness, Zululand

The rural communities of Kwazulu Natal fall massively short when it comes to healthcare facilities and availability of basic treatments. Many aspects in rural areas prohibit people from receiving the required medical assistance and exacerbating the problem is the incredibly high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the area. A shortage in skilled staff and resources makes it impossible for the structure t...


This listing has been saved 5 times

Volunteer Adventure—2 weeks in Peru

The Volunteer Adventure program combines 1 week of volunteering with 6 days of travel and exploration in Peru. This is an excellent program option if you are interested in learning more about international volunteering and you want to be sure you visit the most important sites and highlights in Peru. Depending on individual skills and interests, you can get involved in the following voluntee...


This listing has been saved 32 times

Volunteer and Explore on a Gap Year of a Lifetime!

A world of possibilities awaits you with Frontier. You could be spending memorable days scuba diving off the brilliant white sand beaches of Fiji or discovering South Africa on a wildlife conservation project working with lion cubs! * Choose the best for your dream adventure Frontier has over 300 projects in countries throughout Africa, South America, Europe and Australasia, giving you un...


This listing has been saved 16 times

Volunteer in Barcelona with Connect-123!

Work as a Connect-123 volunteer in one of the many non-profits, clinics, hospitals and schools we work with in Barcelona. There are a range of different areas to choose from where you can apply your specific set of skills to projects that are important to you. Areas of opportunity include education, conservation, health care, microfinance and community development and many more. Tell us your ma...


This listing has been saved 20 times

Community Development Projects in Uganda

Work with an international community development volunteer project in Uganda. Participants work with a grassroots community-based organization focused on improving the quality of life through a wide variety of community development initiatives, including adult education programs, income-generation activities, such as poultry and livestock rearing, HIV/AIDS education, construction projects, and ...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Dance Therapy and Education in Ecuador

Use your dance abilities to engage communities in Quito by exploring rich dance traditions of Ecuador and the Andes region or sharing your knowledge with special needs youth and adults. We work with two main dance organizations in Quito. One is focused on preserving and broadcasting Andean culture through ethno-contemporary and pre-Hispanic choreographic interpretations. The other focuses on pr...


This listing has been saved 131 times

Volunteer Abroad in one of 8 Countries for 1-12 Weeks

Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteers address child health, child education, and refugee support by providing meaningful volunteer service to communities abroad. As a leader in the field of international volunteer travel since 1995, we know that the best approach to international volunteering—the only approach—is one designed by the community. In every community in which we work, we have long-st...


This listing has been saved 13 times

Volunteer in Cuba and Build a Bridge of Friendship

Cuba is well-known for a lot of things - from sugar-white beaches to Spanish-colonial architecture. If you’re interested in experiencing everything the beautiful Caribbean nation has to offer, the best method is volunteering! Travel to Cuba for one to two weeks and serve the local people while immersing in their lifestyle and culture. Plus, you get plenty of opportunities to explore numerous...