Ageless Service: How Older Adults Are Serving Others

Posted by GreaterGoodness

Age is only a number for some extraordinary senior citizens who are serving their neighbors in inspiring ways. From an 87-year old emergency medical technician to an 85-year old World War II veteran who gives his time to numerous organizations, these senior citizens provide wisdom and compassion to their communities.

The 87-Year-Old EMT


At 87 years young, Edna Mitchell is defying the stereotypes of aging by serving her community as Maine’s oldest emergency medical technician. She began volunteering with the Liberty, Maine fire department in 1978. At a time in her life when most people consider retirement and slowing down, she dedicated her life to helping her neighbors, according to In 37 years of service, Mitchell has ensured that laboring moms get to the hospital in time and has assisted in heroic efforts to rescue vehicle accident victims. Mitchell has clearly inspired younger generations: two of her granddaughters and one great-granddaughter also serve the community as EMTs.

Giving Back in Her 90s

Ana Ochoa of Omaha, NE, logs more than 1,000 hours of volunteer work each year. A Cuban immigrant, the 92-year-old created a successful career for herself in the banking industry. After her second retirement, she decided to spend time giving back to her community. Ochoa volunteers as an administrative assistant in a senior center, where she has served for 15 years. She also performs hostess duties at a local cancer center and provides translation services for hospice patients.

These senior citizens provide valuable services to their communities. We all can learn from them in the way that they defy the stereotypes associated with getting older…

Comforting Hospice Patients

Texas resident Ernest Bradbury felt a void in his life after his beloved wife passed away. He chose to deal with his pain by showing love and compassion to other dying patients. At 78years old, Bradbury has spent the last 11 years of his life bringing joy into the lives of the terminally ill. The Lubbock, TX, community has recognized his efforts, as is detailed in His efforts also assist the families of these patients, allowing them time to run errands or just have some valuable time to themselves. Bradbury says that he understands the loneliness that many senior citizens feel, especially after the loss of a spouse. He believes that volunteering has helped him cope and values the time he spends with his hospice patients.


Bringing Her Skills to the Community

Retired oncology nurse Sandra Campbell uses her experience to bring emotional and financial support to oncology patients in the community of North Jackson, OH. The 71-year-old has spent the last five years providing hospice services to terminal cancer patients. She also knits quilts and donates them to the Oncology Fund for Outpatients. The Fund then sells the quilts, with the proceeds going to assist cancer patients with various expenses, such as groceries and medications. Four years ago, Campbell began visiting a hospice patient in her nineties. She provided companionship, as well as one of her handmade quilts, and shared in the woman’s steady improvement. Though the patient has since been discharged from hospice care, Campbell continues to provide her with encouragement and care.

World War II Veteran Gives Back in Multiple Ways

World War II veteran Don Buck serves his community in Las Cruces, NM, through a variety of organizations. At 85 years old, he volunteers with his local Rotary Club and works as a Goodwill ambassador. He says that he did not want to sit around being unproductive and sees volunteering as a reason to get up each morning. Even as he cared for his own dying wife, Buck solicited the help of a professional caregiver so that he could continue his service to the community.

All of these senior citizens provide valuable services to their communities. We all can learn from them in the way that they defy the stereotypes associated with getting older and live their lives helping others in need.

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