Activities with the elderly

Ecuador (E14) | View map
£230 p.w.

Price is based on 3 months
1 month

Volunteer to work with the elderly in a vibrant day centre in Ecuador

  • Volunteeer with the elderly amid laughter, smiles and energy in abundance
  • Volunteering in Ecuador working with the elderly who visit from the street
  • Make a difference to the elderly; an often forgotten sector of society
  • Suitable for all volunteers and especially for those with experience in dealing with the elderly
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  • volunteer with the elderly 3
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  • volunteering overseas with the elderly 2
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Project summary

This is a day centre for the elderly in a spacious centre in central Quito. Although most of the users are relatively fit, healthy and fun loving, they come from very poor backgrounds and many lead isolated lives. Their lives are tough and typically they earn a living selling craft products, snacks and other items on the street.

Around 100 elderly turn up each day. The projects provides them with a good breakfast and lunch, which many will make a long journey across the city for. The project provides welcome relief from the poverty of their daily lives. The centre is warm and welcoming, full of vibrant energy, laughter, conversation and singing; quite unlike a typical British care home for the elderly.

The centre attempts to host a range of stimulating activities but limited staff resources mean this is not always possible. This is an area where volunteers in particular can make a difference.

The clients depend on the centre for support in the forms of meals, camaraderie and healthcare. Volunteers are always made to feel very welcome by the Director and by every single one of the elderly people.

This opportunity to volunteer abroad is suitable for all volunteers including gap year students and is especially suitable for those with experience in dealing with the elderly

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

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Volunteers support staff across all activities. It is most welcome when a volunteer leads a regular activity that the elderly then start to look forward to, whether that is bingo, dancing, music, art, gentle stretching and exercise, English and cooking.

Help is needed preparing and serving healthy meals for them. You would also be asked to help out with excursions. You would need to be proactive but there is tremendous enthusiasm, and support would be provided for just about any activity that you may choose to initiate.

Although this project can do little to alleviate poverty it does a great job and gives up to four hundred people a loving environment where they can laugh and enjoy each other’s company in comfort. Volunteers helping at the centre often build up strong relationships with individuals and gain a unique insight into their lives.

How you can make a difference

The old people live tough lives in a country where health care and support is only available to those who can afford it. The situation is improving and every year more funds seem to be made available for these type of social welfare initiatives.


The project can manage without volunteers, but volunteers provide the extra capacity to make a difference. Most importantly volunteers lead those activities that bring much of the fun and laughter to the centre. The old people love it when volunteers give them attention, put on activities and genuinely care for them.

What is distinctive about this project:

This is a far cry from the typical older person’s home in the UK. The project is full of energy, life and laughter. The old people need support but they appreciate it and make their appreciation apparent. It is a rewarding project with an often neglected social group.

Blue Tiger Features

This is an ever popular project with the Outreach staff, for the way it bucks expectations with its uplifting approach to old age. Full of characters and quick smiles, this is a project that is readily accessible to volunteers, one where you can make a difference to the lives of so many, and yet enjoy the experience so easily.

You might be one of few volunteers, but you will quickly have a whole new set of friends to welcome you each day.


It is open all year round.


You will need to speak basic Spanish to coordinate with staff and communicate with the elderly, although in this project a smile goes a long way.

Experience required:

There is no experience required to contribute to this project although anyone who has experience working with the elderly would be particularly welcome. Volunteers who have any talent in art or dance for example would have the opportunity to develop appropriate activities around this.

Good to know:

Based in Quito you are in the centre of things. Just remember you are at altitude, the weather is highly variable and beware of the traffic. You’ll have time to see Quito in the afternoons, and take trips out at weekends to some of the rural delights of Ecuador.

Price table

4 weeks8 weeks12 weeks16 weeks

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support, welcome meal and up to 2 weeks of high quality 121 Spanish tuition.
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations

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Monika Montes

Country co-ordinator

Monika Montes

Monika is superbly connected throughout Ecuador and has been working with Outreach International since 2003. She lives with her two teenage children in central Quito and plays host to many of our volunteers who work in the city. Monika’s passion for volunteering is reflected in her commitment and level of support that she provides. She speaks fluent English and is a qualified Spanish tutor.

About Ecuador