One of the most looming questions people have in retirement is what to do with their oodles of newfound time. With careers in the rear-view mirror, seniors commonly waste their golden years away. Finding purpose in retirement can be difficult, however finding fulfilling work isn’t impossible. Volunteering is a wonderful senior activity for individuals to get out in the community and find purpose in what they do. Whether it be volunteering at a 5k or a soup kitchen, there’s a multitude of ways for seniors to participate in the community and positively impact those around them.
Benefits of Volunteering In Retirement
Promotes Physical Activity
The most important aspect of volunteering is it gets you active. Getting out of your house becomes essential in retirement, as it is easy to fall into the trap of staying home 24/7 due to laziness. The corresponding effects from no exercise, especially at a higher age, bring nothing but negative aspects into ones’ life. Volunteering gives seniors the chance to enjoy a day outside while simultaneously helping those in need. The benefits in this case are twofold, only further the idea that volunteering in your retirement can be impactful for many involved.
Positive Mental Health
Volunteering allows seniors to stay not only physically active, but mentally active as well. Even the most medial of tasks can help keep an elderly brain active. Studies have also shown that volunteering can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and other mental health issues related to the elderly. Volunteering is also a great place to find some self-confidence, as giving your own time to assist those in need can be rather fulfilling. Retirees can take solace in the fact that the work they are doing results in the direct improvement of someone else’s life, even if it’s only for a short period of time.
As it was briefly touched on earlier, volunteering has the ability to eliminate isolation and loneliness among the elderly. It’s easier for seniors to live in isolation than it is for them to get outside and make some connections. Volunteering offers to fix this issue, all the while adding the “helping those in need” aspect that I touched on earlier. So in totality, volunteering in your retirement is a great way to make new, meaningful connections while being validated by the fact that those who you are helping/making connections with need it as well.
You Have The Time
Retirees, for the most part, have the large amounts of free time on their hands. It’s hard for the elderly to fill all of their newfound available time, so naturally volunteering fits in seamlessly. The benefits are twofold, as seniors need activities to gobble up their time, and volunteering organizations are always in search of additional helping hands. Don’t stay home and twiddle your fingers all day watching paint dry, get outside and help those in need! There’s always organizations actively looking for volunteers to donate their time and hard work.
Opportunity Of Discovery
When volunteering, it’s easy to discover new things, just as new discoveries happen overtime as you age. Meeting new people and hearing their stories can change a person and the amazing thing about volunteering is it generally requires this communication to occur. Without a doubt, volunteering is one of the best ways to make new discoveries about yourself as you age. Additionally, it’s never too late to find new passions in life. Besides the obvious benefit of doing things out of the goodness of your heart, finding new things previously undiscovered to you can also be considered one of the main reasons to volunteer.
Volunteering as a retiree gives you a unique chance to build connections with those from younger generations. Assimilating with those around you regardless or age, social status, or race is always an activity that is sure to bring positive results. Having a greater understanding of those who live around you in a communal setting is a fantastic way to stay engaged in your community. Tying that back into my previous talking point, you are also bound to discover new things the more you conversate with someone you hadn’t previously met or conversated with.
In conclusion, there are a multitude of reasons to volunteer in your retirement. Whether it be the overwhelming need to donate your time and effort to someone less fortunate, or to try and bridge to divide between the older and younger generation, the reasons retirees should volunteer are abundant. Make sure to reach out to your local community organizations to find volunteer opportunities close by, you might find something unexpected about yourself, or the people you’ve decided to help. Chances are, you will not find out unless you experience volunteering in your community for yourself. Reach out to senior living communities near you for volunteering options and potential future residences for you our your loved ones.
About The Author:
COO @ Landmark Senior Living
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top rated Assisted Living Facilities in the Midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.