Volunteers strengthen communities, but did you know that volunteering also has many benefits to a person? This is especially true for older adults who spend their time giving back.
Volunteerism can improve your health, relationships, and skillsets. Take a look at the benefits older adults can gain through volunteering. Some of them might surprise you!
Benefits of Volunteering
Are you an older adult thinking about helping out in your community? Here are nine things you could gain through volunteering.
1. It’s good for your mental health
Volunteering keeps the brain active, which contributes to mental health. Meaningful and productive activities can help you feel happier and have a positive outlook on life. According to the National Institute on Aging, volunteering may also lower your risk of dementia and other health issues.
2. It prevents loneliness and isolation
Social isolation is a major issue that many older adults face. The feeling of loneliness and few interactions with others can negatively impact a person’s health. Getting out into the community and volunteering promotes socialization. Plus, individuals who engage in volunteering activities experience a shorter course of depression than those who do not, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
3. It gives you a feeling of purpose
As we grow older, our sense of purpose might begin to fade. Children grow up and move out of the house, we retire from our jobs, and some physical activities may become more difficult. Regaining a feeling of purpose through volunteering can help older adults feel recharged with a new zest for life. It can also be a motivating factor for setting and accomplishing other goals.
4. It helps you meet new friends
Life changes, such as moving to a new neighborhood or retiring from a career, can make finding friends to spend time with difficult. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people with common interests. By working together towards the same mission, you can build friendships with like-minded peers who are finding creative solutions in your community.
5. It gives you and a loved one a way to reconnect
Do you struggle to find new activities to do with your spouse or grandchildren? Volunteering is a great way to reconnect and strengthen your relationships. Together, you can learn, help others, and make meaningful memories to share with family members and friends.
6. It increases your physical activity
Physical activity is highly important when it comes to staying healthy and independent as we age. Volunteering keeps you moving, whether you are serving meals at a shelter, helping to clean up your local parks, or walking around the neighborhood with someone as a companion.
7. It bridges the generation gap
By interacting with younger generations, older adults are able to share important life lessons. On the other hand, younger generations can teach seniors new ways of looking at life. By building a connection with each other, both generations can offer respect and affirmation.
8. It helps you engage with old interests
Do you have an old hobby that has slipped to the wayside? It might be time to revisit it. Put your interests to good use by finding a volunteer activity that includes something that you used to enjoy. For example, if you retired from a teaching career, you might enjoy volunteering at a youth center.
Volunteer activities can align with almost any interest, including art, building, cooking, business, and exercise. Do some research to find the one that best fits your interests.
9. It helps you learn new skills
Sometimes, monotony can make life a little dull. If you find yourself bored or with too much time on your hands, volunteering might be just what you need to spice things up. Many volunteer activities allow you to try things you’ve never done before and learn new skills. Take a look at opportunities that are a little outside of your comfort zone. You may develop a passion you never knew you had!
Are you an older adult interested in volunteering? The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) provides a wide range of opportunities for adults age 55 and older across 7 Ohio counties. We match your interests with a variety of community partners to find you a meaningful activity you’ll love.
Interested in learning more about RSVP? Check us out online or call 330-253-4597 x160.
*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.