Volunteering for meaningful causes and organizations can be a rewarding experience at any age. Whether reading to children or serving the homeless at a soup kitchen, volunteering can benefit the physical, mental, and emotional health of volunteers of all ages. It can be especially rewarding for retired seniors; helping them make new friends and stay physically active.
While the volunteer experience can be different for everyone, here are a few of the most common perks and benefits associated with volunteering throughout your retirement and golden years.
Volunteering Has Great Side Effects
Seniors and recent retirees face major life changes, like leaving the workforce or living away from friends and loved ones. Studies have shown that volunteering can benefit seniors physical and mental health by providing a connection to the community and opportunities for personal enrichment. It can also help seniors:
- Use and develop their problem-solving skills
- Learn new skills and cultivate new experiences
- Decrease stress, social isolation, loneliness, and depression
- Meet new and interesting people
- Gain a general sense of satisfaction
- Stay physically active
- Have fun
The average adult lifespan has increased by several decades over the last century for a variety of reasons, but we can always do more to improve our health and increase our lifespan. According to AARP, “Research tells us that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates and less depression, along with a greater sense of control over one’s life and higher rates of self-esteem and happiness. One report found that states with a high volunteer rate have lower incidences of heart disease.”
For those looking to increase their lifespan and overall health and wellbeing, volunteering is a great place to start.
Reap the Health and Lifestyle Benefits of Volunteering in Just a Year
According to research, seniors who reported lower levels of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and social isolation as a result of volunteering, noticed improvements within the first year of becoming a volunteer. Whether you or a loved one have been struggling with physical or mental health issues for some time, or are looking for way to lower your risk, volunteering can deliver fast and measurable results that can kick in as quickly as day one!
Best Volunteering Opportunities and Activities for Seniors and Retired Adults
The sky is the limit when it comes to ways for seniors to get involved. As with any activity, some programs will be more appropriate than others. Always consult a doctor and take the proper precautions to avoid injury if you are interested in a physical volunteer activity, like charity walks. Or perhaps there is an activity you already enjoy that you could turn into a volunteer opportunity, like cooking for a soup kitchen. Perhaps you might want to try something totally new to you. If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few activities and volunteer opportunities that are great for seniors.
- Volunteer at a local community garden
- Like to knit or paint? Teach someone your favorite hobby
- Find ways to support service members and military families
- Work on the phones fundraising for charity or your favorite organization
- Volunteer at an animal rescue
Remember, you do not need to commit to just one organization or cause. To find the perfect fit, consider lending your time and talents to multiple organizations!
SALMON Health and Retirement programs and communities strive to help seniors live healthy lives. Contact us today to learn more about The Willows Retirement Communities for active adults and our Whitney Place Assisted Living Communities.