Christmas is a time to celebrate and give back. Donating gifts is one way to brighten the lives of those who need them most.
This guide will help you know what to donate and which organizations accept donations for older adults. That way, you can ensure your donation goes as far as possible.
Items That Make Great Donations for Seniors and Elderly
If you’re searching for a way to give back this holiday season, there are plenty of ways to help the seniors and the elderly during Christmas.
Here are some common and widely accepted items for donation to seniors and senior-focused charities.
- Personal Care Items (shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
- Warm Clothing (sweaters, jackets, hats, gloves, etc.)
- Non-perishable Food
- Cleaning Supplies
- Household Items (toilet paper, paper towels, etc.)
- Technology Devices
- Gift Cards
- Personal Hygiene Products
- Non-Slip Slippers and Socks
- Activity Packs
- Craft Kits and Supplies
- Personal Care Kits
- Pet Supplies
Items You Should Not Donate
Remember that not all items are suitable for donation to seniors and the elderly.
You should not donate things like used clothing and furniture, expired food, or hazardous materials like paint, chemicals, or caustic cleaning supplies.
Generally, never donate used or expired items but choose new, unopened products only.
Here are some more unsuitable donations for older adults:
1. Used clothing and furniture: Even when cleaned thoroughly, these items harbor bacteria and other germs.
2. Used mattresses and bedding: While these are popular donation items in general, you shouldn’t donate them to the elderly for the same reasons above.
3. Open cosmetics: Opened or expired cosmetics can cause skin irritation and infections and are hazardous to seniors with allergies or sensitive skin.
4. Expired food: While many people choose to eat food past its recommended date, you should never donate expired food to older adults who may be more susceptible to food born illness.
5. Hazardous materials: Even more mundane items, such as paint and aggressive cleaning agents, can be hazardous if spilled or mixed.
6. Used electronics: Electronics can cause electric shock, fire, or other safety issues if they aren’t working properly.
7. Perishable food items: These quickly expire and could cause food poisoning for older adults.
8. Medications: Medications can cause adverse reactions and should not be given to seniors without a doctor’s approval.
9. Alcohol and tobacco products: These are high theft items and may not be allowed if the person lives in a senior care community.
10. Pets: Pets can be complex to care for and cause seniors stress.
Organizations That Accept Donations for Older Adults at Christmas
While many of us exchange gifts and spend time with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, many are less fortunate. Consider donating to a charitable organization this holiday season if you want to give back.
Here are some organizations that accept donated items for seniors and the elderly:
- Meals on Wheels – www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org
- Salvation Army – www.salvationarmyusa.org
- National Council on Aging – www.ncoa.org
- Senior Corps – www.seniorcorps.org
- United Way – www.unitedway.org
- American Red Cross – www.redcross.org
- AARP Foundation – www.aarpfoundation.org
- Feeding America – www.feedingamerica.org
- National Institute on Aging – www.nia.nih.gov
- Senior Services America – www.seniorservicesamerica.org
Donating Your Time to Help Seniors and the Elderly
You can do other things besides donating personal items or providing monetary donations. You can donate and share your time instead!
There are many ways you can help without having any special training or skills. Volunteer at a local senior center, senior program, or nursing home.
If you are a medical or mental health professional, donate your time to help seniors with their physical and mental health needs. Bankers and financial planners can donate their time to help seniors with their finances.
If you’re interested in volunteering for seniors, here are some resources:
- National Service Senior Corps: www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps
- Retired and Senior Volunteer Program: www.rsvp.org
- Serve.gov: www.serve.gov
- Corporation for National and Community Service: www.nationalservice.gov
- Volunteer Match: www.volunteermatch.org
- AARP Foundation: www.aarpfoundation.org/volunteer
- Senior Corps RSVP: www.seniorcorps.org/rsvp
Choose A Reputable Senior Charity Before Making a Donation
Nowadays, charitable donations offer more chances to make a positive impact than ever before. However, put in due diligence in researching organizations to ensure their spending is efficient, allowing their donations to have more effect.
Here are some critical tips to help in the selection process:
Do Your Research
Before you donate any money:
- Make sure you do your homework.
- Look for reviews online from previous donors who have given to the charity. If there are no reviews, try calling or emailing the organization directly for more information.
- Visit the charity’s website and learn about its mission and goals.
- Make sure they are open and honest about where your donation will go and how they will use it.
When choosing a charity for seniors, it’s essential to ensure it aligns with your interests. Whether you’re looking to support a senior center, provide meals for homebound seniors, or advocate for senior health, there is a charity for you.
Researching the organization and ensuring its mission and goals align with your interests is important. By finding a charity that matches your ethics and interests, you can be sure your donation will make a positive impact.
Check for Legitimacy
Check with the appropriate authorities to see if the charity is registered. In the US, charities are required to register with the Internal Revenue Service.
Check that a third-party organization accredits it. For example, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance accredits charities that meet their transparency and accountability standards.
Trust Your Instincts
This is especially true if you get that feeling in your gut when talking to the charity. If something doesn’t feel right about a particular organization, it’s best not to donate.
Audio Article: The Gift of Generosity
Infographic: Christmas Donations for Seniors and Elderly
We hope that you have found this guide to Christmas donations for seniors and the elderly helpful.
Please share this information with your friends on your favorite social media.
If you know of other worthwhile charities that accept donations specifically for older adults, please let us know in the comments below.