How to Become a Volunteer at a Nursing Home

Volunteering at a nursing home is an often overlooked volunteer area and yet one of the most needed. Statistics show that only 50 percent of nursing home residents have no close relatives and 46 percent have no living children, which explains in part why geriatric depression is prevalent here.[1] The process of becoming a volunteer at a nursing home can often be a little lengthy, but the self gratification and relationships you will receive from volunteering is irreplaceable.


  1. Image titled Become a Volunteer at a Nursing Home Step 1
    Make a list of nursing homes you are able to volunteer at on a regular basis. When doing this, use any resources from family members, friends, or even use an online search engine to find nursing homes. While searching, bear in mind that just because a nursing home is very large, this doesn't mean that you won't get the same one-on-one experience as a smaller home. When choosing your home, also keep in mind your schedule; make sure that you can be fully committed to any obligations that the nursing home may give you. From your list, choose the top three that cater to what you are looking for.
  2. Image titled Become a Volunteer at a Nursing Home Step 2
    Call or visit the top three of your chosen nursing home options. Before calling, choose your times wisely, anytime between 9am-11am and 2pm-5pm would be a good option. By avoiding meal times or later at night, you'll have a better chance for getting information and finding people who are free to talk with you. When you arrive, ask for the activities director or volunteer coordinator, they can best assist you.
  3. Image titled Become a Volunteer at a Nursing Home Step 3
    Ask for an application form. The activities director or volunteer coordinator will handle all of your information from here. This step is also where your applicant process begins. They will hand you all necessary applicant information. Most nursing homes will conduct interviews, do background checks, and may even have you receive vaccines and take drug tests.
  4. Image titled Become a Volunteer at a Nursing Home Step 4
    Become a "volunteer in training" at the nursing home. You will be taken into training depending on the area you are assigned to train in. Because of the wide variety of possible areas, you may experience variations in your training length and the content may vary.
  5. Image titled Become a Volunteer at a Nursing Home Step 5
    Wait for your volunteer assignment. The volunteer or activities coordinator will give you or ask you about a volunteer assignment. The coordinator will usually work with you on which area you prefer to work in, but remember that no matter the area, you are making a difference in the residents' lives.
  6. Image titled Become a Volunteer at a Nursing Home Step 6
    Start to volunteer! You have now completed all necessary criteria to become a nursing home volunteer. Also, hopefully you have received an area that best fits you in the nursing home.


  • When scheduling volunteering dates and times, keep a calendar or planner near you to make sure dates don't conflict.
  • Its very easy to "over-volunteer" so try your best to chose dates wisely.


  • Some nursing homes don't hire until you're at least 16; find out by asking them directly.

Sources and Citations

  1. Mitchell, D, Volunteer at a Nursing Home: Create Memories to Treasure
Show more... (1)

Article Info

Categories: Volunteer and Community Service