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Benefits of volunteering as a senior

Senior Wellness | Jun 22, 2015



After retirement, many older adults can wind up with a great deal of extra time on their hands. But activities like golfing, spending time with family and picking up new hobbies can only take up so much of your day. If you are looking to incorporate valuable experiences into your routine, consider volunteering.

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Benefits associated with volunteering
When you volunteer at your local church or a community center, it's not just the people you help who will benefit, but you as well. There are a number of health advantages you can enjoy if you choose to volunteer.

Research from the Corporation for National and Community Service indicated that older adults may experience better physical and mental health as a result from activism in their community. Oftentimes seniors experience more prominent health benefits because volunteering provides a social role for them with purpose. Older adults who volunteer may experience more happiness, life satisfaction and even decreases in chronic pain.

Senior Corps, a government agency for community involvement among older adults, noted that the baby boomer generation in particular may feel an increased desire to contribute to society during retirement because they are the healthiest and most educated adults in the U.S. The eldest baby boomers have recently started to retire, and the skills they have developed throughout their lives can continue to impact society in positive ways throughout their volunteer work.

Where to volunteer
Finding a place to volunteer is simple. Reach out to people in your community and find out what your area's biggest needs are. If you live in a community that wants to encourage students to attend an after-school program, consider volunteering as a homework tutor or to make snacks. Many cities and towns also host meal programs. Volunteer to serve food to the hungry and homeless and build relationships with others in the area.

Retired Brains, an information hub for seniors, recommended channeling your skills toward your community's needs. For example, if you were an accountant, consider offering to assist low-income families with their tax returns. If you were a coach or athletic trainer, volunteer at your local YMCA to teach classes.

Volunteering abroad
If you are interested in traveling and making an impact on your global community, consider volunteering abroad. Projects Abroad, Over 50 and Overseas and Global Volunteers are just a few programs available.

Occupying your time with volunteer opportunities is a great way to submerge yourself in your community and continue to give back. Spending your time in this way also can provide you with additional mental and physical health benefits - especially as you age.