The benefits of being a Papa Pal
Part-time jobs and the gig economy are great ways for college students and adults to earn money while pursuing degrees, getting started in their careers, or raising families. Delivering food and driving people to the airport can offer flexibility, but for many, this type of work lacks the human connection we’ve all been missing. More and more, those who value flexible work are also valuing meaningful work that can make a difference in others’ lives. That’s what being a Papa Pal is all about for you and the seniors you work with through the Papa Pal app.
Everybody needs somebody sometimes
This is where Papa Pals come in.
The loneliness pandemic.
Loneliness among America's older adults is a common problem. A surprising 28% of seniors live alone. Additionally, 43% of adults aged 60+ (over 30 million people) report feeling lonely on a regular basis, and 1 in 4 older adults are considered to be socially isolated. Even those who live with others can feel lonely and isolated as their family members or neighbors live busy lives, limiting their time to visit.
The good news is, unlike other risk factors, loneliness and social isolation are changeable. This is where Papa Pals make a difference. Papa Pals are paired with older adults for companionship and assistance with everyday tasks. These daily interactions with Papa Pals provide meaningful connection and critical support to older adults who need it.
Papa Pals make a real difference.
After getting ongoing support from a Pal, 69% of members improved their loneliness score, and 39% were no longer lonely. Furthermore, Papa members reduced the number of days they felt physically unhealthy by 4.5 days and mentally unhealthy by four days.
The health benefits you could bring
Being a Papa Pal isn’t just a nice thing to do — it makes a difference in a senior’s health as well. Studies have shown that spending time with other people can help seniors lower blood pressure, reduce cognitive decline, and keep other diseases from rapidly progressing. Being connected is also very important for their state of mind. As people grow older, they lose many essential friends and family members, which leaves them feeling unseen and alone. Having someone to chat with over a cup of coffee might be the highlight of a lonely senior citizen's day.
Young adults may be unaware of what wonderful potential there is in connecting and fostering relationships with senior citizens. By listening to their stories and anecdotes, you as a Pal will learn a lot while allowing seniors to reminisce and share the joys and sorrows of their lives. Older adults generally love to share stories and reminisce about their childhood and growing up. Remembering days from long ago can also help keep their minds sharp and improve their state of mind overall, as good memories give them a positive lift. Listening to a senior recall historical moments and other important life events can be an exciting and vivid learning experience.
Make a difference
Helping a senior to have a better day can have a ripple effect. If they live with their family, their mood can directly impact those they interact with every day.
The same applies if they live in a senior community. A significant mood boost for one resident can affect their friends and acquaintances. Your part-time job as a Papa Pal can change the world, one senior citizen at a time.