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7 Top Charities That Benefit Seniors

We’ve all had times in our lives when we needed a helping hand. For seniors, that help might involve some assistance with household chores, preparing meals, accessing educational opportunities, or dealing with health issues, among others.

We researched seven charities that benefit seniors, each of which has earned a sound reputation for reliable support by well-trained volunteers and/or professionals.

Since many of these organizations do rely on volunteers, if you find something that intrigues you, you might want to consider volunteering your time and skills.

Charities that Benefit Seniors

If you don’t find what you need here, head to your favorite search engine to find additional resources. The U.S. has an abundant amount of local charities that benefit seniors and that are dedicated to aiding their neighbors and strengthening their communities.

1. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)

The AFA was established in 2002 to provide support and information to those suffering from Alzheimer’s and to their caregivers and loved ones. This invaluable resource is made up of more than 2,600-member organizations nationwide.

It supplies a full range of information, educational tools for caregivers, a calendar of events, and various types of practical assistance. Whether you’re looking for the latest research, where to take caregiving classes, how to contact a support group, or how to register for a webinar, the AFA is your best bet.

They also have a section on their website on the value of “memory screening,” a useful diagnostic tool available nationwide and at no cost to you. (For the record, the AFA has provided more than four million free memory screenings to date.) You can visit the website above or if you just need someone to talk to, phone the Help Hotline: 866-232-8484.

2. Honor Flight Network (HFN)

Earl Morse and Jeff Miller, who co-founded the Honor Flight Network, were inspired by their respect for veterans to provide vets the opportunity for closure, if possible. The HFN also aims to give veterans the chance to share a special experience with other men and women who have served their country in one or another branch of the military.

Since 2005, the network has flown thousands of veterans to Washington, DC – free of charge – to view the memorial commemorating their war. Heroes Welcome, a subgroup of the HFN, orchestrates a suitable and rousing welcome for these heroes as they get off the plane in DC, and possibly when they exit the plane on the return trip. There are volunteer guardians who escort the veterans around town.

America has some amazing charities that benefit seniors.
source: unsplash.com / author: Aaron Burden

Naturally, the focus now is on WWII veterans and any veterans, of any war, with a terminal illness. As time progresses, the focus will shift to veterans of Korea, then Vietnam, and so on. In the 46 states participating, there are anywhere from one to nine airport “hubs, where these flights are scheduled.

There are four states, at present, that are not in the network: Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

3. Meals on Wheels America (MWA)

No list of charities that benefit seniors would be complete without Meal on Wheels America. With over 5,000 independently run (not government financed) local chapters across the U.S., meals can be delivered to anyone who qualifies, and for a very moderate fee. At present, at least 18% of U.S. seniors have trouble obtaining or preparing the food they need.

Of course, the food, catered to each senior’s dietary requirements (and delivered on the days he or she chooses), is essential to the recipient’s well-being, but MWA’s motto states their service is “More than just a meal.” For one thing, having this necessity taken care of may enable the senior to continue living in their own home versus entering a facility, good for both their self-esteem and pocketbook, and good for the community.

Additionally, the social interaction that accompanies the meal is just also meaningful, benefiting both the senior and volunteer, helping to further promote that invaluable sense of community. To find out if you or someone you know would qualify for MWA, to volunteer, to make a donation, or to learn more about the significance of MWA’s actions, check out their website or phone their center in Arlington, VA: 1-888-998-6325.

4. Pets for the Elderly (PFE)

Companionship is something most creatures crave, human and otherwise, and this is what PFE aims to provide. As scientific studies have proven, the company of animals improves the emotional and mental outlook, while also lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Dog ownership, in particular, promotes exercise for both owner and pet plus increasing opportunities to socialize.

Regardless of the type of animal you select, you’re likely to feel a deeper, healthier sense of connection to this world, a state of mind that may well help battle the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, or at least slow the progress.

All that said, the melding of seniors and shelter animals is a mutual life-saving match made in heaven. Currently, PFE is allied with 54 animal shelters in 34 states. To discover if there’s a shelter near you, visit their website.

5. Second Wind Dreams

No matter your age, you’re never too old to have a dream, and those dreams, when possible, should be fulfilled. That’s the belief that spawned Second Wind Dreams back in 1997. Since then, more than 10,000 dreams have been made a reality for elders living in nursing homes, assisted living and memory care communities.

A growing number of elder care facilities participate in SWD, encouraging their residents to talk about what they still want from life. This could be acquiring a pet, being reunited with family or friends, visiting a special place, or any of a myriad number of desires.

Besides making dreams a reality, SWD also sponsors the Virtual Dementia Tour. This uses virtual reality technology and trained guides, permitting those free of the illness to experience how dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers view the world. It also allows us to find out firsthand how, with the onset of dementia, common everyday tasks can become impossible.

6. SeniorNet: Education and Empowerment

Founded in the U.S. back in 1986, presciently foreshadowing a future where computers would become an essential of everyday life, SeniorNet has since become an international organization. Their Learning Centers are staffed by trained volunteers who follow a carefully crafted curriculum.

All this is premised on the understanding that maintaining a foothold in the world these days is a great deal easier for those who are computer savvy.

Not only does this sort of knowledge allow one to continue learning by taking online classes or researching topics of interest, but it also facilitates communication, socialization, and creativity.

In the 150+ classes offered, instructors cover everything from computer basics to digital photography, as well as how to avoid scams, protect your computer and more. Membership is a nonrefundable $43 a year, which grants access to any Learning Resource Center in the country plus access to exclusive portions of the website.

7. Shepherd's Centers of America (SCA)

Shepherd’s Centers of America (SCA) was built on the idea of community, and that no one should be excluded from it, regardless of age or health. Established in 1971, SCA has been providing opportunities to some 160,000 seniors (and their caregivers) every year to live their lives fully so that they, and everyone around them, benefits. They offer a three-part menu:

  1. Adventures in Learning: Through SCA, elders – usually taught by elders – can learn a language, or study finance, politics or pretty much anything you can think of.
  2. Adventures in Wellness: Recognizing that wellness is a complex combination of nutrition, physical activity, mental challenges, health screenings, and a belonging, SCA offers a full range of fitness classes to suit your tastes and needs, from chair exercises to Zumba.
  3. Adventures in Volunteering: Aware that this is a way of giving back to the community, SCA promotes volunteerism for its other fringe benefits, as well. Among other things, it’s fun, you can make friends, add to your repertoire of life experience, and enhance your health on every level. Regardless of how much – or how little – time you can give, you might choose to tutor, serve as a part-time caregiver, provide office support, or care for shelter animals. Whatever your skill set and interests, there are any number of people or organizations that would value your time, energy, and talent.

Whether you are looking for a worthwhile senior citizen organization to volunteer with, donate funds, or are looking for resources for a loved one, these well-respected organizations have earned a place in our hearts. If you know of an organization not listed here that deserves a mention, please leave a comment below and let us know all about it!

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46 Comments

  1. I work at a nursing home and was wondering if there is a company that donates activites for the elderly or something special like a fish tank while the residents are on lock down with covid?
  2. My mother has a number of terminal things going on with her that now she must be moved from hospital to a skill nursing facility because her home has stairs so I’m in need of getting a ramp built so she access her home again when shes ready to leave the nursing skill facility
  3. I am 61 years old.Type 1 diabetic,hypertensive,neuropathy pain in legs and feet,have sleep apnea and take medication for depression. I have been battling for disability with Social Security for over a year and finally had to hire an attorney who said it might take another year with them because they feel that I can work. There is some panel somewhere that make this decision without seeing or talking to me personally. I have spent over 40 years and have contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to Social Security and Medicaid. Now I am home Covid bound with my retirement fund decimated by Covid -19. I have medical copays that I can not afford to pay and other bills which are mounting. there is no help directed specifically to help Seniors in need. Why are stimulus being sent to people who are still working? Why are those really in need not being helped? Lost in the U.S.A.
    1. L.D., I am so sorry to hear about your dire situation… you are absolutely right to demand answers for why resources are not being allocated first to where they are truly needed. Your situation is unjust and is a perfect example of how our country is NOT supposed to work. I will speak up, vote, volunteer, and donate every chance I get to try to address this type of injustice and encourage everyone I know to do the same. I realize this won’t directly help you, and I’m sorry I can’t do anything. But I wanted you to know that you’ve been heard loud and clear and that there is silent majority who agrees with you that your situation needs immediate remedy.
    1. Hello I am the Director of Social Services at the Blackfeet Care Center. We are located in Northern Montana, on the Blackfeet Reservation. I am looking to see if there are any donors out there that I might be able to talk with in terms of finding donations of art supplies, easels and so on for our residents. If anyone can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
      1. Hi Lydia, I just sent an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Please accept the invitation. I might be able to help with the requested donation of art supplies. Best Regards, Valera
    2. I’m one lucky person! My mom will soon turn 87 and has been a meteorologist, secretary, among other things but most importantly she was a caregiver for her son. In her latter years she took care of my brother beautifully until he lost his fight with diabetes. She has been able to live independently and doesn’t wish to live with me! Don’t get me wrong she loves my company but she has seen so many become dependent upon their children and fears that would happen. Meanwhile she lives in a very simple and lively place however rent is high To maintain her independence she needs to increase her income by at least 400 dollars a month! That can’t happen y less she works Don’t believe she’d be hired because of her age and she will not have the ability to ask for money She has been told she qualifies for housing authority choice program however due to covid they’re closed and do not open for processing applications soooo what does one do?
  4. I like the other individuals on this blog, are in need Each of us, in our own way desire to be independent, to have our needs taken care of and we find there are too few or no resources. Children no longer take on the sole responsibility of caring for their parent’s needs, although parents have given their last to ensure that their children are well cared for until adulthood. Then we are forgotten. Therefore, we must reach out to others and to strangers. My story is much like other seniors. I am 66 yrs old, medically involved and desperately in need housing. I lost my home several years ago due to the mortgage crisis and losing my job. I was forced into retirement because I needed a source of income. But Social Security does not cover the real cost of daily living. I have lived in motels and in my car when I had one. Now I live in a garage with no windows, heat or a bathroom. My small income also takes care of my disabled daughter who according to the government does not qualify as disabled because her disability occurred at age 19 (not enough work credits) but she cannot work. So I have to carry this lovely burden as well. I just want to approach a service agency or provider that will show or give me results. All I get is a pamphlet or a sheet of paper wiith “more resources” that tell me they cannot help me.. I too want to be independent. I too want a clean, safe place to live. How can some get housing assistance and others more deserving cannot. I apologize if I sound angry, but I am. I am angry for all of the others who have written on this page and for those who cannot. We deserve to be supported as we have supported.
  5. Good morning my name is Angela and I am trying very hard to find some resources for my pants my mom had a stroke on September 25th my dad has been in a wheelchair for over six years now my mom was taking care of my dad now I have to take care of my mom and my dad I really really need some help with someone who can help me to get their house together for them to be able to live in their house they want to stay in their home they own the home for over 45 years my dad is 79 my mom is 78 I am trying to find resources would help in me to rebuild their bathroom so they will be able to get into the shower because right now they cannot get in the shower because neither one of them can step over the tub to get in and a towel around the shower is falling down and whenever you turn the water on the water just goes all over the place they need some repairs done to their walls in their house cuz my dad is a very large guy and he’s in a power wheelchair and he has put quite a few holes in the wall trying to get up and down the hallway and the chair because the hallways are narrow not only do I take care of my mom and my dad I work full-time and I have an autistic son that I take care of all I’m trying to do is find someone that will be able to donate some supplies and I can hang drywall myself I do know how to do that I just need the supplies because my parents can’t afford to spend that kind of money they don’t have it and if anyone can help me I would really appreciate it thank you so much and God bless you all
    1. Hi Angela! A local St Vincent DePaul chapter may be able to help you. A local Catholic Church should be able to point you in the right direction!
    2. Reach out to john hopkins university. They have a program called “capable”. They help low income seniors age at home by providing assistance needed (maintenance person, home care visits,…….) Good luck
    3. Have you tried reaching out to a Brain Association – either State or National? My hubby had a traumatic brain injury and I know they offer funding and resources to stroke victims.
    4. Sounds like a they to file for a repair loan through the go bff ernment. What is that place called…. Farmers home administration or his or usda grant program. Everything you describe is what they help with. I think theory also do energy audits in th he same office.
      1. I’m trying to find housing are rather a place for me and my Mom she is elderly I take care of her I have problem s with my on health and her wish is to get out of the place we live it’s a drug infested trailer park we live in fear my mother is 74 we are poor the trailer is falling apart our vehicle is on its last leg we pray for something better every day it’s my 🙏 to find peace for my Mom before she passes and I pray it’s not soon I just want her to have a place where she does not have to feel afraid a reliable vehicle to get to the store and a smile on her face she is awesome a beautiful person she deserves more than I can give which hurts me more than words can say.
  6. Hi I am a nurse attempting to assist a Senior that does not have Medicare, was recently removed from a home due to neglect. The family is in the process of trying to get her health benefits back. She is in immediate need of clothes, bed, toiletries, incontinent supplies, available resources. Please if you are aware of any agencies or any where i pick-up these items please let me know. Thank you
    1. My next door neighbors wife struggles to go upstairs of her porch, she has been canceling all her appointments to doctors appointment. They do not have enough money to get or build a ramp, is there anyone who can help, I have tried so many places. I dont have the funds. To pay for them to get one. She was suppose to have surgery on her kidney but had to cancel, because she did not know how she could get back up the stairs.
  7. I am 73 year old female with an indoor cat in San Diego. I live in a tiny I room cottage in a back yard. I have a 56 year old roommate who spent many years being homeless. He is very clean and a hard worker but needs a resume which we can’t afford. On my retirement income we can’t make it. I managed to get a used car in June but after rent car payments and insurance not enough to live on unless he has work. He sold plasma for many years to detriment of his health. We can hardly afford gas. We only use car for going to laundramat grocery shopping and church. Very paranoid of so many scams on email texts and phone calls on phone. We both luckily have health insurance. He is still young enough to work but so insecure because job market here is aimed at youth. My hip and back have gotten worse so walking has been so painful. I used to be able to afford really good supplements that make me feel pain free and energized and upbeat but doctors prescribe dangerous drugs that only treat symptoms and have bad side effects. We also feed up to 15 alley cats a day and provide warm places on our porch for the chilly nights. We both have become so attached to them. Cats don’t judge you or make you feel worthless as society has since we are older poor white people who nobody seems to like anymore. My bible needs to be read more so I can get a sense that I am valuable even if broken in so many ways. I want to be able to be a working contributing member of society again. Old doesn’t mean I should be preparing to die and tucked away in some nursing home. I want to live vibrantly and just need some source of help without a bunch of paperwork that confuses me and lost in the system. My roommate awesome friend who cleans and cooks for me and dishes up food for the furry friends outdoors and my cat absolutely adores needs a resume and an employer who recognizes his work ethic regardless of his age and spotty resume and hired him. Then we could make it. Thanks for reading. Joan
  8. I am 60 years old and live in a tiny house. My water is not complete and my bathroom is not complete. I could really use some help. But dont know where to turn. I live in abbeville, sc. I have lupus.just want to live in my own
  9. Iam in need of help fixing my oil furnace for the Winter months.Right now I have no heat.And Can’t afford to fix it.I am almost 65 yrs old Iam on Social Security. It Seems like There’s no help out there. God bless
    1. Nora, I am in almost the same boat as you are. Both boilers in the 2 family house I bought last year need to be replaced. The guy who checked them last year said he’d be surprised if they last me through last winter. I am in a deep financial crisis and can hardly afford to buy food. I am not eligible for food stamps due to owning property. I worked hard all my life, raised my kids alone and now here I sit, crying every day, not sleeping at night and losing more and more weight as a result of this stress. I only get social security and a small pension as income and I owe a credit card debt and taxes.My kids both have jobs but don’t make much money so they can’t help me other than to bring me food and do chores for me. I’m really not sure what to do. We both need a miracle.
    2. Hi, you can reach out to your Mayor or Council member. There are companies out there, that would do this pro bono. It a tax deduction for them in the form of donations.
  10. I am 55 years old and been bedridden for 16 months do to severe dysautonomia and many other health issues…..I need to get to cleveland clinic from louisville kentucky but I cannot drive myself there and I have no money for the trip…..if anyone can help me please let me know…my appt is NOV, 4th…2019 thank you for any help
    1. Hi I am Dee and I am 71 years of age. I recently had hip surgery and a shoulder replacement a little earlier. In previous years I was an active working member of Society. Here of late I became financially dependent and was forced to move in with my daughter. She tries so hard to support the family and really does not want me to work anymore, not ever. But I feel so bad and have been trying to find something I could do to bring in some sort of income to help out but no one wants to hire me. I have become so depressed that I don’t know where to turn. I only get Social Security and I don’t have anything left after I try to provide a little food for the family. I want a dog so bad to help with my depression, I have a lot of love to give but cannot afford the up keep of one. I really don’t know where to turn or even what to ask for. I am willing to work for anyone that will accept my limitations. Can you please point me in the right direction? If I am able to secure a job that pays me enough whereas I can contribute to the household and have enough left over to support a dog I would be so grateful…thank you in advance..
  11. Is there a reasonable housing program, apartment housing for seniors. There are seniors that are still able to function without a nurse, or home health care, looking for something that won’t take their entire SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS!!! MOST HOUSING COST $1000.00 AND UP, THAT’S TOO MUCH FOR SOMEONE ON S.S. WHERE ELSE TO FIND THIS TYPE INFORMATION? THANK YOU!!!
    1. EHDOC the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation (EHDOC.org) operates low-income elderly housing in some areas around the country. Their website lists places where they operate affordable elderly housing.
  12. This is an urgent request as my 74 year old sister (wheel chair confined due to stroke) is forced to be homebound. She is unable to walk down the 4 steps needed to come outside. We are a very close family/ she has no children My children have been paying for most of her expenses & we have aids to assist her @ $85/ day. She only has social security & we were finally able to complete the Medicaid process. Her desperate need is to have a ramp attached to the outside stairs so we can wheel her outside. I have tried multiple agencies with no success as a ramp will cost between $4,000 – $6,000. Our funds have been depleated & Medicaid will take an average of 3-5 years to help. I want her to age in place but she has been unable to come outside for several months now.
    1. My mother of 92 years needs special care but she is not an American and can not receive any benefit I would like to have a job that paid me to take care of her at home because I have a job out of the house
  13. Hello. I am needing to go to Long Term Care, AKA nursing home. The issue is that I have such enormous debt due to medical and pharmacy copays. I am disabled as a coworker ran me over with his car and now I have arthritis, diabetes and SLE (lupus). On Facebook, I began a GoFundMe page for 10K to pay debts and to pay someone to come and pack and move me. So far, I have only raised $860.00, for which I am eternally grateful. Please direct me to someone who can help. Thank you for any consideration. I am ever so thankful and grateful.
  14. I am a retired school teacher in need of modest assistance. Through a family member’s death I lost my retirement funds. I am in need of approximately $1000 to cover recent costs of an HVAC repair ($540) and this month’s house payment ($375). Can anyone direCt me to a philanthropic community? Can anyone help me?
  15. My sister is 78 years old. She went to a nursing home for rehab from a broken hip and then a hairline fracture of the tail bone. While there they discontinued therapy because of Medical limited resources. (money) Consequently she had four unnoticed strokes. I saw something wasn’t right and had to insist they send her to the hospital and thru the MRI’s the strokes were documented. Then she would cough while eating and the home said she couldn’t swallow her food, the nursing home doctor recommended a feeding tube (temporary) until she got better. That was over a year ago. No physical nor occupational therapy and not eating food she has began to cry and holler continuously. I myself am 74 but still work. She is a living being with no movement other than to raise her head and upper body to get a better howl out. I live in a one bedroom upstairs apartment. Please help with any charities that can pay for physical and occupational therapy. I want t bring her home but can’t because I can not lift her. I will need a real nurse in addition to in home supportive help. I go to see her everyday and the pain I feel when looks in my eye has me stressed out. I lost another sibling last February. Any suggestion or support with agencies is Godly appreciated.
  16. I am a 62 year old disabled senior citizen, my wife is 49 years old and legally blind. Our mobile home trailer was impounded for being to large. my wife and I are now sleeping in a tent and it is very hard on us. I need $679.00 to get my trailer out of the impound. Is there any charities that can help us pay to get our trailer, or even a loan that I can pay back on the first of next month. The impound fee goes up $72.00 every day.
  17. Please read this, as my elderly mother needs help!! She has been in a nursing home all year. By the end of February, however, she got all well and was able to walk and eat and has a home, pets, plants, and a caretaker: me. But the nursing home decided to not let her go home and has been holding her ‘hostage’ since March! She could’ve gone home, but they need the money to do renovations on the facility. Now my mother’s bill for the place is at least $20,000!!!!!! AND, WHAT’S THE ISSUE IS THAT SHE WAS WALKING, EATING ORALLY, TALKING NORMALLY! There wasn’t any reason for them to have kept her in the place. They most likely have plans to take her home to pay for the facility time, and that’s so very wrong and sad. She loves her home, her belongings, Chihuahua’s and she loves watering her plants and raking the leaves in her yard. Oh, this is such a travesty done to her it’s unreal! Please, if she can just get some help to pay off that astronomical bill then maybe she can keep her home and eventually be able to be released back to it, like she should’ve been done months ago!! Please help her!!!!
    1. Hi Krystle, Is your mom a Medicare Savings Program beneficiary, or is she on Medicaid or has LTC insurance? Did she sign Estate Recovery?
      1. Krystal contact Ombudsman Organization. An ombudsman is an advocate who serves to protect the civil and human rights of elderly and disabled residents living in long term care facilities. They play an important role in protecting your senior loved one. The Long Term Care Ombudsman is trained to help solve problems and mediate solutions for your senior.
  18. i am 63yrs old lossing my house and need to relocate. i do have monthly income from SS diability. i am so affraid of becoming homeless i am terrified. can you help me find shelter please?
    1. Please call the non emergency number in your county, and i’m sure they will help you find a temporary shelter until you get back on your feet.
  19. I do not know if my dream is included in this program. I have tried numerous times to look for a grant to help me publish several children’s books that I have written but do not have the money to do so. I am a retired teacher of age 69 and would really like to see them in print before I die. Could you help me or know how I can find someone or some program that will help? I appreciate any help you can give me. I do not know which are legit or are a scam. Thank you for your help.
    1. Lillian, consider running a GoFundMe campaign. It is considered crowdfunding and projects like yours seem to do well. If you decide to go that route you might also want to learn more about Kickstarter and other funding sources.

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