The world’s population has been aging rapidly. Virtually every country is experiencing a growth in the elderly population, from China to Italy to the United States.
According to the United Nations, the population aged 65 and older has been growing faster than any other age demographic. By 2050, 16% of the world will be senior citizens.
For countries around the world, aging demographics present a serious challenge. Resources in many countries are already stretched, especially in those nations that struggle with poverty.
So, the big question is: How do we handle the world’s aging population? How do we help the elderly live healthily and happily?
After all, we want to take care of our elders. We want to ensure they can age with grace and dignity.
The truth is there’s no one single answer. Policymakers, healthcare specialists, economics experts, other professionals, and society in general will have to work together to create a variety of solutions.
Now, if you’re wondering what you can do right now, we have an answer. You can volunteer with the elderly abroad. Many organizations have great projects in countries that need your help now.
In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about eldercare projects abroad. Continue!
What You’ll Do When You Volunteer with the Elderly
When you volunteer with seniors abroad, you can help in a variety of ways. Some of the most common types of eldercare programs are healthcare volunteering programs.
For example, you can serve as a senior center volunteer. For these volunteer programs, you’ll perform duties such as preparing meals, maintaining facilities, and most importantly, providing companionship. You’ll play a key role in boosting the emotional and mental well-being of residents by:
- Playing cards with them
- Hosting dance and music classes
- Taking walks, talking, and reading together
As you can see, senior center volunteering can allow you to enact positive change. Organizations such as A Broader View run a lot of volunteer programs that assist elderly homes, including this one in Ecuador.
One other way you can volunteer with seniors is through community development programs. These programs usually involve working in marginalized communities to build key infrastructure, support local schools, and provide services to the most vulnerable, specifically orphaned children and the elderly.
Now that you know how you can help the elderly abroad, let’s discuss the best programs. Read on!
Note: For most of these programs, your participation includes airport pickup, 24/7 support, accommodation, orientation, and some meals. Check with each individual project for full details and program requirements. And prepare accordingly.
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
International Volunteer HQ began in 2007 and has placed nearly 110,000 volunteers in projects abroad. With affordable, trusted programs in 40+ destinations, IVHQ has become a top name in volunteering. They’ve been featured by major publications, including National Geographic and the New York Times.
IVHQ has numerous opportunities to volunteer with the elderly, such as their elderly care project in Colombia. Check out three other great programs below!
Volunteer with the Elderly in Argentina
Price: $325 for 1 week; $850 for 4 weeks
Head to Córdoba, a gorgeous city in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas. There, you’ll serve as an elderly home volunteer. At the local community center, you’ll provide care and companionship to seniors. You’ll also assist with recreational activities designed to improve the residents’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Have fun hosting art workshops, doing yoga, helping with hairdressing, and more. You can really make a big impact!
During free time, explore Córdoba. The city features wonderful Spanish colonial architecture, tasty cuisine, happening nightlife, and amazing cultural sites like the Emilio Caraffa Provincial Fine Arts Museum. Ready to go?
Help the Elderly in Guatemala
Price: $310 for 1 week: $895 for 4 weeks
Volunteer in a nursing home or senior center in Antigua. You’ll help elderly people from low-income areas get the support and care they need. Your duties are to spend time with the elderly, prepare meals, and offer basic healthcare services, like distributing medicine. You even have the chance to host exercise programs, arts and crafts projects, and dance classes. Your efforts go a long way in making sure residents have the quality of life they deserve.
When you’re not volunteering, Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage City, has a breadth of cultural, historical, and architectural gems to visit. You can also take Spanish lessons and practice your skills with the senior center residents.
Elderly Care Volunteering in Zambia
Price: $270 for 1 week; $630 for 4 weeks
Support the provision of basic services at an elderly home in Zambia. The facility lacks resources to give seniors the care they deserve and many residents don’t have personal resources or family to care for them. As an elderly home volunteer, you can make a big difference. Help with meals, maintenance, gardening, transportation to medical clinics, and more. By spending time with the seniors, you’ll also provide much-needed human companionship. You’ll learn a lot about life, too!
Past volunteers have great things to say about this program, such as Diane:
“My husband and I had a great volunteer experience at the elderly care placement in Livingstone. It was very challenging as these are individuals who don’t have any family to care for them and have very little means. The staff and elderly people warmed up to us quickly and even though we learned a handful of Nyanja, communication was not an issue. We shared many laughs and a few tears. We will miss the smiles and characters and hope to return someday.”
Held in Livingstone, you’ll have free time to immerse yourself in the local culture. Victoria Falls is also a short trip from town.
Founded in 2003, Maximo Nivel has volunteer projects, study abroad programs, and internships in Latin America. To ensure programs are of the highest quality, Maximo Nivel closely partners with local organizations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. They even operate four local institutes. With exceptional support, impactful initiatives, and affordable pricing, Maximo Nivel has become the go-to program for volunteer adventures in Latin America. They have more than 835 reviews on Volunteer Forever, with an overall rating of 4.89 out of 5 stars.
If you want to volunteer to help the elderly, Maximo Nivel’s healthcare programs give you that opportunity. The programs suit pre-med, nursing, and medical students, as well as anyone with experience in the healthcare field. Get more details below.
Healthcare Programs for the Elderly and Others in Need
Price: 1 week – $645 for Guatemala and Peru and $695 for Costa Rica; 4 weeks – $1,255 for Guatemala and Peru and $1,495 for Costa Rica
Training to be a medical professional? Then you can care for the elderly through Maximo Nivel’s healthcare program. As a medical volunteer, you’ll work in specialized living facilities that help the elderly, physically and mentally disabled, and HIV infected children. Duties include changing beds, distributing medication, and providing companionship through activities such as arts and crafts. You’ll even get to run dental and hygiene education workshops. It’s a great program for building medical experience and doing good.
Past volunteers give the program great reviews, like Camille, who volunteering Guatemala:
“Maximo Nivel was incredibly flexible and kind during my volunteer service. They provided very safe housing for both myself and my travel partner. We had the opportunity to work with an elderly care facility that was understaffed. The nurses there did an incredible job with day to day feeding and activities of daily living, but they had no entertainment and seemed to be very sad. So, we had the opportunity to take them out on walks and have dance days and games to help them enjoy their days more. I don’t know if it was a lasting change, but our goal was to continue having the incoming volunteers help in the same way to keep them having a good time. It was a wonderful experience!”
Ready to volunteer with the elderly in Latin America? You can choose between Antigua (Guatemala), San Jose (Costa Rica), and Cusco (Peru). They’re all wonderful, historic cities filled with cultural activities and entertainment.
Known for their transparency, affordability, and commitment to improving local communities, Love Volunteers offers truly rewarding volunteer abroad opportunities. Founded in 2009, Love Volunteers has an average rating of 96% from past volunteers—a testament that they’re doing great work.
If you want to volunteer with the elderly, consider going with Love Volunteers. Their elderly care volunteer programs help the most vulnerable and allow you to make a positive difference in several ways. Read below!
Elderly Care Volunteering in Ecuador
Price: $459 for one week; $849 for 4 weeks
Journey to Quito, and volunteer at a senior center that serves senior citizens who have been left destitute and vulnerable. Duties include helping with meals and feeding, playing games with the residents, and walking, talking, and reading with them. The program may prove challenging, but the work is rewarding. You’ll see your impact right away as your work improves the lives of seniors.
During off-hours, have fun in Quito. Hike Pichincha (a volcano), visit Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (the exact spot of the equator), check out the architecture, and more.
Physiotherapy Volunteering in Jamaica
Price: $1,439 for 2 weeks; $2,099 for 4 weeks
Help in hospitals and homes for the elderly in Mandeville. Your assistance will lessen the burden of an overstretched medical system and ensure seniors get quality treatment. As a physiotherapy volunteer for the elderly, you’ll help medical staff with treatment, interact with patients, and perform administrative duties. Many patients are recovering from strokes, chest conditions, brain disorders, and other issues. Others require post-surgery care and rehabilitation. Your help can make certain they have the necessary support.
This program suits anyone interested in helping the elderly, especially physiotherapy students and practicing professionals. When you’re not volunteering, enjoy the lush mountain scenery of Mandeville and tour the rest of Jamaica!
Specializing in affordable, ethical volunteer projects, GoEco has become a leading voluntourism company. Founded in 2006, they now have more than 160 programs and have earned numerous awards, including recognition as the 2018 Top Volunteer Abroad Organization from GoAbroad. GoEco has also been featured in major publications, such as USA Today and the Guardian.
If you’d like to serve as an eldercare volunteer, GoEco’s community outreach initiatives are a great choice. Look over two of their projects.
Cape Town Community Aid
Price: $1,530 for 2 weeks; $2,350 for 4 weeks
Wish to improve underprivileged communities in Cape Town, South Africa? Then join this project. As a community aid volunteer, you can do everything from teach children in an after-school program to help the elderly at a community center. When you volunteer with the elderly in Cape Town, you’ll help the most vulnerable of senior citizens. And you’ll see the change you create right away.
When you’re not serving as an elderly care volunteer, tour Cape Town. From hiking Table Mountain and relaxing on Boulders Beach to visiting all the historic museums, this city has it all. Dive in!
Teaching and Social Work in San Jose, Costa Rica
Price: $990 for 2 weeks; $1,510 for 4 weeks
Volunteer with the elderly in San Jose, Costa Rica’s bustling capital. As a social work volunteer, you’ll teach children, provide childcare, and serve as a senior center volunteer. Your volunteer experience begins with an orientation, which includes Spanish classes and cultural activities. When you begin work as an eldercare volunteer, you’ll be more than prepared to make an impact.
During free time, experience San Jose, as well as the rest of Costa Rica. Whether you’re trekking in Manuel Antonio National Park or shopping at San Jose Central Market, you’ll be amazed. Already packing your bags?
A Broader View
A non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania, A Broader View offers placements in 25 countries across Latin America, Asia, and Africa. They do truly great work, partnering with local organizations that support low-income and marginalized communities. Volunteers have given A Broader View great reviews. On Volunteer Forever, they’ve received 263 reviews, with an overall rating of 4.99 out of 5 stars.
When it comes to elderly care volunteer abroad opportunities, few organizations offer the number of choices A Broader View does. From senior citizen care in Colombia to an elderly welfare program in Ecuador, destinations and projects abound. Read over three great programs below.
Elderly Care Volunteering in Chile
Price: $895 for 1 week; $1,295 for 4 weeks
Head to La Serena, where you’ll care for local low-income elderly people. Most of the residents rely on the senior facility for everything, with some having been abandoned by their family. Your duties will include preparing food, helping with feeding, and assisting with recreational activities. If you have a medical background, you can assist with basic health checks. Most importantly, you’ll provide companionship by reading with the residents, going on walks, playing cards, and more.
Want to join this wonderful program? During off-hours, La Serena, with its beaches, architecturally stunning churches, and great dining, calls you to have fun.
Volunteer with Seniors in Nepal
Price: $890 for 1 week; $1,310 for 4 weeks
Make your way to the rooftop of the world. There, you’ll volunteer at an elderly care center in Kathmandu, helping to improve the quality of life for residents. Responsibilities include hosting music and dance classes, assisting with meals, playing games, and assisting with basic health checks. The center does a lot of good, and you’ll get to be a part of an amazing movement in Nepal to enhance the quality of care for seniors.
During the project, you’ll stay with a host family or at a placement center in Kathmandu. There will be plenty of time to learn about local culture, study the Nepali language, go hiking around the Himalayas, and go horseback riding. Sounds like fun, right?
Help the Elderly in Honduras
Price: $895 for 1 week; $1,195 for 4 weeks
Travel to La Ceiba, a beautiful Caribbean port city. There, you’ll help the elderly at a community center. Many of the residents don’t have family to care for them, so the center fulfills an essential need. As a volunteer, you’ll assist with everything from gardening and food preparation to cleaning the facility. You’ll also join the residents in recreational and cultural activities, which helps boost the spirits of the residents.
Ready to make a difference as an eldercare volunteer in Honduras? When you’re not volunteering, La Ceiba awaits, with gorgeous beaches and sites like the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge and Pico Bonito National Park.
Established in 1989, Frontier has placed more than 103,000 people in volunteer, gap year, and internship programs. With over 400 projects throughout the globe, they’ve built quite the list of placements, from inspiring adventures to conservation work to community development initiatives. No wonder Frontier has become a leader in the volunteer abroad industry.
If you want to volunteer abroad in eldercare, Frontier has plenty of projects. For instance, you could help the elderly as a medical volunteer in Argentina, Or, you could do community volunteer work in Sri Lanka, which involves eldercare work in a senior center. Want to hear more? Look over two other programs below!
Community Health Work in Cambodia
Price: 2 weeks for $1,295; $495 for each extra week
Want to provide healthcare to those who need it most in Cambodia? Then join this program. You’ll work in Samraong Hospital, doing general duties such as replenishing first aid kits, updating medical records, and assisting with basic health checks. You’ll also get the chance to teach about healthcare in local schools in Samraong. Much of your time at the hospital will be spent helping the elderly, who desperately need quality care to live comfortably.
This project is based in Samraong, a city in northwestern Cambodia. You’ll first take part in a cultural immersion week, which includes language lessons, temple visits, and cooking classes. At the end of the program, you can explore the rest of Cambodia too. Cities like bustling Phnom Penh and famous sites like Angkor Wat, a temple complex, await.
Mobile Health Clinic Project in Mongolia
Price: 2 weeks for $1,145; $345 for each extra week
Journey to remote villages in Mongolia’s poorest districts, and help make basic healthcare more accessible. Best suited for pre-med, nursing, and medical students, this project focuses on treating vulnerable children, mothers, and the elderly. As a medical volunteer with the elderly, you’ll help run a local healthcare clinic or hop on a mobile clinic. The mobile clinic enables workers and volunteers to help those elderly that can’t get to medical centers.
As you gain hands-on medical experience each day, you’ll also immerse yourself in Mongolian culture. The program includes a homestay with a Mongolian family in Ulaanbaatar—the capital of Mongolia. The city is surrounded by a beautiful landscape and features the country’s most significant cultural sites, such as the National Museum of Mongolia. So, are you ready to go?
Choosing the Right Elderly Care Volunteer Program
You have many choices. To make your decision easier, analyze what you want. Consider your skills, interests, budget, available time, and location preferences. That should help you narrow down your choices.
Then read volunteer program reviews and talk with each organization. That will allow you to see which project suits you best.
Once you’ve made a choice, apply! Before you know it, you’ll be off on your volunteer adventure, ready to help the elderly abroad.
Nick Callos · Writer
With a BA in English Literature & Writing from Boston College, Nick researches and writes about volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs worldwide. He has studied abroad and taught English in Chengdu, China, and aims to help fellow travelers make a lasting impact on the communities they visit.