This summer, think about reaching out. In a recent survey, 79 percent of high school and college students said that they regularly volunteer time for causes they care about, which is awesome. Might we point you toward your local nursing home? Yes, they can be intimidating, but they can also be really beautiful places where you can hear stories from the past and pick up pearls of wisdom.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, an estimated 60 percent of nursing home residents never have visitors, but human contact is essential for our health and well being! In South Korea, high school students are being encouraged to work with older patients who have dementia, and the result is an older population that feels more loved, and a younger population that has gained understanding and ways to cope with their own grandparents' and older relatives' struggles.
Watch this New York Times video about the program in Korea, and try not to cry. Then visit idealist.org to find nursing home volunteer opportunities in your community. You'll be glad you did (and so will the people whose lives you touch -- it will mean the world).