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How Time-Banks Promote the Dignity of Seniors

Written by OurParents Staff
 about the author
2 minute readLast updated April 21, 2023

As people age, everyday tasks can become more difficult to accomplish. Imagine a senior loved one who’s been cleaning their own gutters for years, but, because of arthritis and declining mobility, is no longer able to. They could pay someone to come help, or, depending on their location, they could consider joining a local time-bank as an equitable alternative.

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What is a time-bank?

A time-bank is a community of people who have agreed to trade each other their services, or their time. In a time-bank, time itself is currency, and no one person’s time is deemed to be more valuable than another’s. Time a senior spends knitting gifts is regarded the same as the time someone spends cleaning a gutter. Similarly, trade-oriented services are judged to be equal to the services of someone with a doctorate.
Services are traded directly on an hour-for-hour basis, so everyone receives the help they need. While convincing a senior to accept help can be difficult, time-banking can allow them to trade assistance equitably.

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The principles of time-banking

Time-banks are sprouting up in cities across America. Some already have over a thousand members. They are founded on the belief that we all have something to give. Five core principles of time-banking include believing that:
  • Everyone is an asset
  • Some work is beyond a monetary price
  • Reciprocity in helping
  • Social networks are necessary
  • All human beings deserve respect

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Dignity for seniors helping their community

Time-banks promote the dignity of seniors and disabled people by allowing them to not only receive services, but to contribute them. So while an older adult may not be able to clean her roof anymore, she can help in classes at the local community center. By getting involved in a time bank, a senior not only receives help with household chores at no charge, but they’re able to get the warm, rewarding feeling of contributing to and strengthening their local community.
While time-banks aren’t common across the country, they are prevalent in some areas. Search online to see if one’s been established near your aging loved one, or consider inquiring at a community center to see if anyone would be interested in starting one.


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OurParents Staff

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