How Can You Start an Adopt-a-Grandparent Program in Your Neighborhood?

Starting a local Adopt-a-Grandparent program is potentially as simple as publicizing the program, gathering volunteers, and coordinating visits between volunteers and senior candidates within the neighborhood. There is no official, national Adopt-a-Grandparent foundation as of 2015.

There are smaller Adopt-a-Grandparent organizations in cities across the United States. They are independent and occasionally affiliated with schools, colleges or national service organizations, such as the National Exchange Club.

The Homestead Hope Foundation recommends that prospective parties apply for a grant to start an Adopt-a-Grandparent organization, but funds are not essential beyond the cost of copying announcements and telephoning contacts.

The National Exchange Club, for instance, advises contacting local school officials and explaining the program, visiting classrooms to interest and orient students, and contacting the directors of selected nursing homes for support, approval and possible candidates.

In the interim, the activities directors of selected nursing homes visit the participating students and address relevant topics, such as the physical conditions of seniors and the aging process.

A first, meetings between students and grandparents should be relaxed and casual, with seniors and students getting acquainted over refreshments. Afterward, the seniors, students, teachers and activities directors determine subsequent meetings. The National Exchange Club suggests nature walks, holiday parties, games, storytelling and perusing photo albums.

It is advisable to maintain a new Adopt-a-Grandparent program for at least one year to encourage its success.