Volunteering is a wonderful act of kindness regardless of a person’s age, but it provides several benefits for seniors that make it an even better idea. Seniors often face mental health risks, such as depression, they get bored with retirement and they get lonely. These are just a few of the things that volunteering will help combat so that seniors can live a happier, more fulfilling life. Seniors will also enjoy several other benefits.
Volunteering Gives Seniors a Sense of Purpose
Often, seniors feel that they are no longer needed. They are retired, so they are not needed at their job. Their children are grown up, so they feel that they do not need them anymore. Seniors can feel like they no longer have a sense of purpose, but volunteering can restore that. It will make them feel as though they are needed and make them feel alive again.
Increase Interaction Between Different Generations
When seniors volunteer, they often interact with people that are a different age than them. This can benefit both the younger generation and the older generation. Younger age groups can help seniors learn new things, like how to avoid internet scams or use their new Fanmi phone. Older generations can teach younger adults important things they may not have learned elsewhere, such as coping skills or how to manage money. Each generation has something to offer the other one, but they can not enjoy those benefits if they do not interact with each other.
Decrease Risk of Dementia
Studies have shown that lack of cognitive function contributes to the development of dementia. When seniors participate in activities that stimulate the brain, it increases their cognitive development to prevent diseases like dementia from kicking in. Some seniors that volunteer may still experience dementia, but certain activities, such as volunteering, can help delay the onset of these diseases.
Increase Physical Activity
As people grow older, their physical activity often decreases. They begin to experience a plethora of problems that go hand in hand with a sedentary lifestyle, such as heart problems, increased water retention and obesity. When seniors volunteer, they get off the couch and start moving around. Even something as simple as volunteering at a soup kitchen involves walking and standing, which is the moderate level of activity that seniors need.
One of the most common problems among the elderly is that they feel lonely. They find that their Fanmi phone does not ring as often as they would like it to. This often results in a downward spiral that can lead to depression as well as other mental health problems. When seniors take the time to volunteer, they start to have more conversations. They enjoy more human interaction. In addition to that, they get out of the house and start to enjoy life, something that lonely people do not do as often. As time goes on, seniors that volunteer often find that they do not feel lonely anymore thanks to the consistent interaction they have with other people.
Certain Activities Increase Vitamin D
One of the easiest ways to increase the intake of vitamin D is to expose bare skin to direct sunlight, and volunteering is a great way to do that. Seniors can speak with a local animal shelter so that they are able to take the dogs for a walk. They can also volunteer to help referee little league games, do yardwork for a neighbor or a variety of other activities that increase their time outdoors. This will give seniors a sense of purpose, improve their mood and give them better physical health. Vitamin D is essential for seniors to feel their best, and volunteering outdoors is one of the best ways to get it.
Contribute to the Workforce
Many industries still need seniors even though they are retired. Executives appreciate the experience that seniors bring into the staff, and new members of staff can learn a great deal from senior volunteers that have previous experience with the company.
When seniors contribute to the workforce, they bring more to the table than they realize even if they are new to the job. They add value to every company that they volunteer at, whether it is a library, school or simply volunteering at the factory they used to work as a mentor. The experience will always be important, and it will always be something that is greatly needed.
Seniors Can Have Their Dream Job
Often, people wind up working a job that they hate because it is financially necessary. They must support their family or kids, so they stay at a job that they do not like. Sometimes, people stay at that job for retirement benefits or medical insurance. While this may have been a necessity for years, it is not a necessity once retirement begins.
After a senior retires, they can volunteer anywhere they like. This gives them the freedom to pursue their dream job volunteer style. A person that wishes they could have been a veterinarian can volunteer at the local animal shelter. Seniors that always wanted to work with children can volunteer with a local youth group. Most organizations happily accept volunteers, which allows seniors to do things that they did not have time before when they were busy working at a job they despised.
Access to Resources
When seniors volunteer in the community, they will instantly run into more senior volunteers and more resources to discover programs that can benefit themselves or loved ones. Many seniors are not aware of programs like Meals on Wheels or income-based housing programs that are specifically for seniors. As seniors become more involved with their surrounding area, they will begin to learn about a plethora of resources that can help them live their best life.
Volunteering has been proven to provide a significant number of health benefits that can improve the lives of seniors. Seniors will enjoy an improved mood, better physical health and they will finally feel alive again. They will feel sharp when they think about problems because their cognitive functioning will improve. The elderly will even enjoy being able to have friends as they meet new people through volunteer programs, and their phone will start ringing again. This single act of kindness has the potential to change a person’s life for the better in multiple ways.