Seniors Who Volunteer January 28, 2020 12:50

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5 Reasons Seniors Should Volunteer

It’s no secret that volunteers play a crucial role in the U.S. economy, on a macro and a micro level. Volunteers are impacting the broader economy while having a tangible and genuine impact in the lives of individuals receiving their services and donations. Volunteering also has important emotional and physical health benefits for the volunteer – especially when that volunteer is a senior.

1. Volunteering can prevent senior isolation and reduce symptoms of depression

Regularly volunteering gets seniors out into the community, with people counting on their services and abilities. Being relied upon can give seniors purpose and a sense of responsibility, while also encouraging social engagement and even creating friendships. According to a study done by the Corporation for National and Community Service, adults over the age of 60 who volunteer reported higher levels of well-being and lower disability than those who did not volunteer.

2. Volunteering can make you feel like you have more time and money

A study done by Wharton College found that people who volunteer feel more useful, capable, and confident, feeling like they can easily accomplish future tasks. Even though volunteering means they have less time, those that volunteer actually feel like they have more time. The same held true for those that donate more financially. According to the study, “Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more.”

3. Volunteering can help improve intergenerational relationships

Many high school students are encouraged to volunteer to enhance their college applications, and college students are encouraged to volunteer to improve their resumes. Seniors who volunteer have a unique opportunity to engage with a younger generation of volunteers, even if their volunteer work isn’t to serve younger people. Volunteering together can create lasting friendships through shared experiences despite generational differences.

4. Volunteering keeps seniors active for longer

No matter if it’s walking dogs at the Humane Society, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, or restocking books at the library, volunteering keeps seniors physically active. Maintaining physical exercise and an active lifestyle can prevent many injuries and diseases.

5. Volunteering promotes mental health and may help prevent dementia

As the dementia epidemic grows, researchers have a growing focus on prevention methods. The National Institute on Aging has stated that participating in meaningful social activities, like volunteering, can improve longevity, improve mental health, and reduce the risk of dementia.