Volunteers Help in Aging Programs

Volunteers have been significant contributors to the aging services network. Each year about ten million people use Older Americans Act (OAA) services, whose delivery largely depends upon the efforts of dedicated volunteers in the community.

Volunteers help in many ways, including: assisting at group meals sites and delivering meals to the home-bound elderly; escorting and transporting frail older persons to health care services, to do essential shopping errands and to other needed services; visiting homebound elderly to help ensure their well-being through regular social contacts; counseling older persons in a variety of areas including health promotion, nutrition, legal and financial concerns; as well as serving as a long-term care ombudsman representative to help ensure the safety and well-being of residents in long-term care facilities.

Overall, in California:

  • 25.0% of residents volunteer, ranking California 35th among the 50 states
  • 7.22 million Volunteers
  • 940.5 million hours of service
  • $21.2 billion of service contributed
  • 32.5 volunteer hours per capita
  • 58.3% of residents engage in "informal volunteering" (for example, doing favors for neighbors)

A Volunteer Story!

Volunteers can play a critical role in communities across the State of California. Older volunteers are in an excellent position to volunteer. In many ways they may have the time as well as the experience and expertise to help in a variety of activities.

CDA is celebrating the contributions of the State's older volunteers. We especially want to recognize and share stories about the vitality of older adults in their many volunteer capacities. Below are some stories from across the state of how volunteers are making a difference.

Gloria Sanchez

Gloria Sanchez Picture

The Riverside County Office on Aging describes Gloria Sanchez as a highly visible volunteer and advocate for older adults, particularly those with disabilities. In her passion to help the community, over the past 20 years she has been participating in various city, county, and state organizations to ensure that services to older adults are available.

Ms. Sanchez has been a member of the Riverside County Advisory Council on Aging for fifteen years, serving as Chair from 2012-15. In addition, Ms. Sanchez serves as President of the Riverside County Foundation on Aging, a not-for-profit organization with a long and successful history of supporting seniors and seniors with disabilities in the area. In this capacity, she has been involved in organizing the Annual Charity Golf Tournament, and also in coordinating the Annual Holiday Gift Card program which distributes food gift cards to older adults to assist them with participating in the spirit of the holiday season.

Ms. Sanchez’s other activities include organizing and participating in Community Outreach and Planning Seminars for both State Senator Jeff Stone and Supervisor Marion Ashley, where she conducts outreach to educate and help residents in need of services to connect with resources in the community. She also serves on the Area Agency on Aging Council of California, the President’s Council for the Independent Living Partnership, and the California Elder Justice Coalition (in Sacramento).

In her home town of Menifee, Ms. Sanchez is Chair of the Menifee Citizens Advisory Committee, and serves on the Menifee Senior Advisory Committee. She also sits on the Advisory Board for the Kay Ceniceros Senior Center, where she regularly meets with seniors to discuss their needs and concerns.

Jane Eckels

Jane Eckels, Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging - "I have received much more than I have been given."


Jane Eckels Picture

As described by the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging (AAA), "Ms. Eckels' nine years on the AAA Advisory Council has made significant contributions to the well-being of seniors throughout the community.

She has been actively involved in committees and workgroups, chairing the Legislative committee, Transportation and Mobility Committee, Executive Committee, Advisory Council and was a founding member of the Elder Protection Workgroup.

In 2012, she received the Marge Ling Leadership Award, which seeks to not only acknowledge a member of the Advisory Council who displays the leadership, commitment, and passion for senior issues, but also motivates fellow members of the Advisory Council to model and support healthy, active aging."

Further, "Ms. Eckels' ability to think creatively, identify issues, and solve problems is an asset to the AAA and the community. She is passionate about the AAA, seniors and people with disabilities in Sonoma County, and has contributed to expanding awareness of senior issues by both increasing the number and quality of outreach activities for the AAA.

Her founding of the Elder Protection Workgroup and leadership in efforts to raise awareness of elder abuse and neglect through speaking engagements and special projects in honor of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day show her commitment to improving the lives of those in her community.

As Chair of the Transportation and Mobility Committee, Ms. Eckels has laid the groundwork for a collaborative, community-based approach to improving transportation programs and systems throughout the County."

Resources and Useful Links

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteer opportunities, CDA is pleased to provide the following off-site resources to connect volunteers with governmental and nongovernmental civic engagement programs.

  • CDA Supported Volunteer Programs:
    • Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for volunteer opportunities. For contact information Click here.
    • Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). The State Health Insurance Assistance Program offers one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families. For information about how to become a volunteer counselor Click here.
    • The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is currently recruiting volunteers to advocate for seniors and persons with disabilities that reside in long-term care facilities in California. To find out more about becoming a volunteer Long-Term Care Ombudsman representative, contact the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in your area Click here.
    • California Volunteers is the state office that manages programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Californians engaged in service and volunteering. For volunteer information Click here.
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNS). The Corporation is the nation's largest grant maker supporting service and volunteering. Through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, the Corporation provides volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and interests. For volunteer information Click here.
  • Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA). The MOWAA represents local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 U.S. States. For volunteer information Click here.
  • Volunteer Match is a national nonprofit that helps visitors find volunteer opportunities by location, interest area, and/or keyword. For volunteer information Click here.
Updated February 2, 2017