How are senior citizens valuable?

Learn how you can make senior citizens feel valuable, and some creative ideas to help them feel more useful.

3 min read

For most retirees, retirement is a time to take a rest, go on endless vacations, and do what you planned to do in your golden years. However, retirement can also be empty and isolating for some retirees, and they may view themselves as more of a burden than helpful citizens.

You can help senior citizens become valuable by letting them help with certain household tasks like light cleaning, making grocery lists, and folding laundry. If your loved one loves cooking or baking, you can get them involved in the cooking process, from sourcing ingredients to preparing and combining ingredients, and serving meals. You can also help them preserve their personal history through Story of My Life books, photo albums, and video/audio interviews.

How to help seniors feel valuable

With so much free time on their hands, seniors can participate in various activities that they enjoy doing. Here are some activities that can make seniors feel more valuable:

Let them help with household chores

When you are taking care of your loved one, it is easy to get into the habit of doing everything for them. While sometimes it makes sense to do everything when your senior is unwell or frail, you can find some safe household chores that they can perform.

Some easy activities that seniors can do include light cleaning, writing grocery lists, sorting clothes, organizing clothes, etc. You can let them do the tasks on their own or you can jump in and offer a helping hand, too.

Get them involved in cooking

If your senior enjoys cooking or baking, this can be a good opportunity to get them involved in the kitchen. You can ask them to help you prepare a weekly meal plan, source ingredients from the local farmers market, make suggestions for nutritious meals, and help in the cooking process. If they are interested in gardening, you can ask them to lend a hand when planting vegetables in your backyard garden.

Help them preserve their history

While you may think you know a lot about your loved one's history, there is always some detail you don't know about. Plus, seniors may have a unique perspective about a past event that younger family members may be interested in knowing.

Asking your loved one to share their personal history and achievements can help them feel valuable. Telling their own stories and documenting them in various formats can be a way of preserving family history for future generations. You can work together to create personalized Story of My Life books, scrapbooks, photo albums, and audio or video interviews.

Teach fading skills

Many older adults have certain special skills that are being overtaken by technology, and there are hardly any younger people with these skills. Skills such as wood carving, leatherwork, metalwork, canning, knitting, and pottery are quickly getting lost. If your senior is multi-skilled, you can help them open a workshop where they can share their skills. They can also offer to teach these skills in a formal setting like a community college, high school, or local library.


One of the best activities that seniors can engage in to create an impact in society is to volunteer for a cause they believe in. Whether it is serving food to a homeless shelter, rescuing cats and puppies, helping customers at non-profit stores, helping children with homework, donating to rescue centers, etc., volunteering, or donating to a cause can help seniors feel a renewed sense of purpose and value.

Share a meal

Plan a shared dinner and invite all the long-lost family members to help bring a sense of joy, happiness, and belonging to your senior. The act of eating together beyond the traditional mealtimes helps older people feel more content and happier.

Whether it will be a home-cooked meal or a restaurant meal, sharing a meal can help bring back happy memories and have a real conversation that makes your loved one feel appreciated. It can also be a good time for the older adults to share family history with the younger family members.

Seek their wisdom on family issues or events

Seniors have accumulated lots of experiences and knowledge over the past decades, and they can exercise good judgment on various issues. You can seek their input on family situations like vacation plans, birthday celebrations, wedding gifts for a relative, or even what furniture to buy next. The older adult will feel valued and appreciated when his or her ideas are taken into consideration.

What do seniors value most?

Good health

Being in good health in old age can help seniors stay active and maintain their independence, without requiring a lot of help with day-to-day activities. Some of the common conditions that older adults may suffer from include hearing impairment, arthritis, back pain, diabetes, and dementia. Getting good quality care can help seniors minimize the impact of these health conditions and improve their quality of life. 


Seniors treasure strong connections to family, friends, and old colleagues, and it helps them beat loneliness. Seniors should build and maintain relationships with family members of all ages. Also, senior facilities that encourage social interactions with other seniors help enhance the quality of life.


Being part of a community gives seniors a sense of belonging, and it helps them build a relationship with other people in the community. Seniors can participate in community events or outings, which offer an opportunity to socialize with people of all ages. Such interactions are good for their mental health, and they reduce the likelihood of experiencing depression.


Old age comes with its challenges, and most seniors struggle to perform everyday tasks that they are used to. However, this does not mean that seniors want everything done for them; they desire to maintain some level of independence to elevate their self-esteem. If you are caring for a senior, you can teach them how to perform certain tasks, instead of doing everything for them.