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Volunteer Work in Guatemala with Elderly People

Do you have a passion for working with elderly people? Would you like to travel to Guatemala and volunteer helping elderly people in need? Then IFRE has the perfect volunteer abroad program for you!

Guatemala is a unique Central American destination with a whole lot going on. From volcanos to jungles to underwater caves to colonial cities and crumbing Mayan ruins, you’ll find a little bit of everything here.

Many people in Guatemala live in poverty, and the elderly suffer terribly from this.

Some become incapable of caring for themselves, and their families are unable to care for them or afford the high costs of residential care. This puts pressure on the government to try and provide for these elderly citizens, but there is a severe lack of funds, facilities, and manpower to make this happen.

Volunteers in Guatemala like yourself can help provide this care and improve the quality of life for some of Guatemala’s most needy and helpless citizens. You will act as a friend and companion to elderly people, provide basic care, and offer support to the staff that works with them on a daily basis.

Your time at this project will ease the final years of Guatemalans who may have struggled through a hard life of poverty and are now in the vulnerable position of being unable to care for themselves. If the people have families, they will rest easier knowing their loved ones are being well cared for.

Do you want to help ensure the dignity and comfort of elderly Guatemalans? Then contact IFRE to start making a difference in their lives!

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Volunteer Responsibilities & Impact

As a volunteer in Guatemala, you will be working in a home for elderly people who can no longer care for themselves and need full-time help and support. You will spend time with them, acting as a companion and friend. You will also help provide care, assist the nurses, and possibly pitch in with preparing and serving meals.

Many of these elderly people are lonely, and spending time with them will have a profound impact on their quality of life. Knowing someone wants to visit with them, listen to their stories, and offer them help will brighten their day and make their final years more pleasant and easy to bear despite the physical difficulties they might face. You will feel wonderful knowing you are making a difference.

Skills and Qualifications:

The primary qualification to join our elderly people Guatemala volunteer project is a passion for helping aging people and supporting them through this difficult time. This can take a lot of patience, compassion, and flexibility, so you should be prepared to provide these things.

Elderly Guatemalans are extremely unlikely to speak English, and they may be hard of hearing or prone to getting confused or disoriented. If you speak Spanish, it’ll be highly beneficial to you as a volunteer, and will really help you work with the elderly patients. If you cannot speak Spanish, we recommend you enroll in a Spanish language program. We offer them while you volunteer so it’s super convenient for you!

Note that there is no photography permitted inside or outside on hospital grounds. You must also wear closed toed shoes and dress conservatively (no tank tops, short shorts, etc.)

If you have special skills or qualifications you can offer to this Guatemala volunteer project, we encourage you to let us know what you bring to the table! We can always use specialists like speech therapists, psychologists, as well as carpenters, gardeners, and massage therapists!

Volunteering with the elderly in Guatemala is an amazing experience, and as you get to know those you care for you are sure to enjoy the perspectives and stories they offer.

Your schedule is going to vary based on your placement and what the current needs of the project are. We encourage you to keep an open mind when it comes to scheduling and duties, and to be flexible as needed. To give you an idea of what a typical day might look like for you, here is a sample schedule:

First Day: On your first day of volunteering in Guatemala, our local coordinator will take you to the residential home you will be working at. You’ll meet the caring local staff, and the elderly people you are traveling all this way to help! You’ll have an orientation session that will tell you everything you need to know about your project, your duties, your daily schedule, safety protocol, and the customs and culture of Guatemala.

Weekdays: Your work with the elderly begins on the second day, and a typical volunteer day is as follows:

7.00 to 7.30 AM: Start your day with a hearty typical breakfast with your lovely host family. Typical fare includes rice, beans, eggs, and fried plantains.

7.45 AM: Although your exact hours will vary, you’ll head out after breakfast to the home for the elderly where you’ll be volunteering. Spend a great day giving back and providing care and companionship to elderly Guatemalans.

12.00 PM: Take a break for lunch. You can travel home to your host family, or they may have sent you with a to-go lunch. If eating at your project site, take this time to bond with fellow volunteers in Guatemala, and your local project staff.

3.00 PM: After your workday ends, you are free to explore the exciting colonial city of Antigua. You might team up with some of your new volunteer friends, or just head back to the host family’s home to relax.

6.45 PM: Sit down for a culturally immersive experience dining with your host family. Eat traditional foods, practice your Spanish, and get a real feel for what life is like in Guatemala.

Volunteer Work in Guatemala with Elderly People: Dates and Fees

Program Dates

IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.

Our Fees

Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

Volunteer Program Fee (US$)

    Duration No Spanish With 10 Hours Group Spanish
  1 Week $255 $285
   2 Weeks $405 $465
   3 Weeks $555 $645
   4 Weeks $705 $825
   5 Weeks $855 $1,005
   6 Weeks $1,005 $1,185
   7 Weeks $1,155 $1,365
   8 Weeks $1,305 $1,545
  9 Weeks   $1,455 $1,725
  10 Weeks   $1,605   $1,905
  11 Weeks   $1,755   $2,085
  12 Weeks   $1,905   $2,265

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day »

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation (host family)
  • Food (local food 3 times a day)
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

The volunteering programs in Antigua, Guatemala fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses, which would typically be around $30 a day for room and meals at a hostel.

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Accommodation and Meal

Our volunteers in Guatemala are housed with our welcoming and socially respected host families that have plenty of experience hosting international volunteers. They will offer you a home away from home, and you’ll share three local healthy meals a day with them. You’ll always feel safe and have plenty of opportunities for cultural immersion.

Learn more your accommodations and meals while volunteering in Antigua, Guatemala.

For more readings:
Host family
What It’s like to Stay with a Host Family
12 tips to enhance cultural experience in host families

Free Time and Weekend Exploration

You’ll have your weekends and evenings free to travel and explore, and Guatemala has no shortage of amazing things to keep you busy. Swim in a beautiful blue lake, hike up a volcano, visit Mayan ruins, or marvel at the beautiful colonial architecture of Antigua.

Discover what to do in your free time while volunteering in Guatemala.

Safety and in Country Support

Your safety while volunteering in Guatemala is our number one priority. IFRE goes to great lengths to make sure you have a secure and successful volunteer experience. We offer pre-trip guidance, comprehensive travel coverage, and in-country support to guide you every step of the way.

Read more about our dedication to safety and our in-country team.

Volunteer Work in Guatemala with Elderly People: FAQs

IFRE has been offering affordable and meaningful volunteer abroad programs in 20 countries around the globe since 2006. We’ve taken care of all the little details that go into planning the perfect trip for over 22,000 volunteers so far, so we know what we’re doing. Here a few of the details you should know when traveling with us:

Arrival and Departure

You will fly into Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City. Provide your flight details once you book, and we’ll make sure we’re there to pick you up when you land and take you right to your destination. We suggest arriving a day early, and though you’ll have to pay for an extra night of accommodations, you’ll be well rested and ready to take on your volunteer adventure abroad.

Your departure transportation isn’t included in our Guatemala volunteer program fee, so you’ll need to set this up and plan for it. Just check in with the local staff and they’ll be happy to let you know you how to set up a taxi to the airport.


You may or may not need to apply for a tourist visa in advance when you’re traveling to Guatemala. It all depends on where you’re from. If you’re a citizen of the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK, you won’t need to, as a passport with 6 months validity is good for a stay up to 90 days.

Check out the Guatemala Immigration website for requirements based on your home country.


The first step towards a safe and healthy trip volunteering in Guatemala is getting vaccinated. Particularly because you will be working with elderly people who have compromised immune systems, you will want to make sure you do everything you can reduce your risk of contracting a communicable disease.

Please consult a travel doctor who is knowledgeable about current health issues and epidemics in Guatemala. You can also find the information on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Health Canada or in Travelers' Health United Kingdom.

Some of the required vaccines are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

For Further readings:
Volunteer Health and Safety
Safety tips for your volunteer abroad trip

Why volunteer with elderly people in Guatemala?

Volunteering with the elderly is a great way to ensure the comfort of these people who may have gone through hard lives, and they will share the stories and lessons they have learned along the way.

You’ll provide much-needed support to elderly people

These elderly Guatemalans have lived a long life and although they would prefer to care for themselves, they are no longer in a position to do so. They need assistance with “daily living” activities such bathing and cooking a meal. They depend tremendously on support provided by volunteers like you!

You’ll assist the local staff running the old age care centers

Although the government is doing its best to support the growing number of elderly people who require residential care, many of these facilities are over-crowded and under-staffed. The valuable assistance provided by international volunteers is a wonderful help to the dedicated staff that is working hard to care for these older Guatemalans.

Have meaningful conversations with elderly people and reduce their social isolation

Most of the time, elderly people living in the old age care centers have no one to talk to and have meaningful conversations with. By joining this elderly people volunteering in Guatemala project, you will be able to reduce their social isolation, and offer a kind smile and a listening ear. Many of the residents love to tell stories, and you can learn a lot of their culture and history this way!

Organize health screenings to offer medical tests for seniors

Team up with medical professionals to provide necessary health screenings for seniors. Help detect illness and injury early on, and make sure these senior citizens get the timely care they need.

Become a senior advocate and help empower older adults

Elderly people encounter all sorts of issues particular to their age and vulnerable position of being unable to care for themselves. Perhaps they have issues with their loved ones, or they need help advocating for receiving necessary medical care. Perhaps they just need a voice to speak up for some measure of dignity they want to retain in their advanced age. Find out what they need and help out where you can!

Contact IFRE today to learn more about volunteering in Guatemala with elderly people!

Other Volunteering Opportunities in Guatemala

Work in an orphanage,

Teach English,

Help with the empowerment of young women,

Care for the elderly,

Work in healthcare,

build safe stoves for poor families and much more.

Contact IFRE today to find your ideal project!

Other Elderly Volunteer Opportunities Worldwide

Many countries in the world lack proper infrastructure to care for the elderly. Thus, those without families to care for them in their old age often fall by the wayside. IFRE aims to help with this, and thus arrange elder care projects in many different countries, some of the most popular of which are listed below:

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