Seniors and Volunteer Work: Why You Should Consider It

senior volunteerIf you’re newly retired and wondering how you’re going to fill your days, consider becoming a senior volunteer. Volunteering can be a rewarding experience in which you can use the skills you’ve learned throughout your life to make a difference in someone else’s life. Or, you can even learn something that you’ve always wanted to but previously never had the time.

The United States needs volunteers to continue to thrive as a country. Knowledgeable seniors can help organizations save money by offering their skills and help train others, especially the younger generation. In fact, working with young people can offer a chance for reciprocal learning.  While explaining lifelong lessons you’ve learned, in return you can also learn more about things you might not be as comfortable with, like new technology.

Volunteer work shouldn’t feel like a chore.  While sharing your skills is highly important, you can also take this time to fulfill a dream and find work you find meaningful and exciting.  Studies have shown that retired volunteers are more satisfied than their working-for-pay counterparts, because they are doing work they chose to do. You can choose to help others, your community, or provide assistance to causes you are passionate about.

Senior volunteers are often more physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, too. Studies have been done that show seniors who volunteer and stay social maintain better brain function, and their cognitive abilities can actually increase. Volunteering helps you stay mobile and productive, helping slow down the aging process and add years to your life. Also, staying involved in your community and maintaining relationships with others helps you avoid social isolation, which can lead to depression and loneliness. Spending less time alone in your home and more time with others, doing quality work you care about can increase your happiness overall.

Senior Volunteer Work

So, what type of volunteer work would you find most rewarding? Think about the things you enjoy doing or the skills you’ve acquired over your career.  Do you love animals? Local animal shelters are almost always looking for volunteers to help feed the cats or take the dogs out for walks. Were you an accountant and are good with numbers? Look into volunteering your services during tax time. You can also consider volunteering at a hospital or help tutor students.  The possibilities are truly endless.

If you are interested in becoming a senior volunteer but are unsure how and where to begin, there are organizations that can assist you in finding the perfect opportunity that will meet your needs. Volunteer Match, for example, is a website that helps seniors find volunteer work.  You’ll enter your zip code and get a list of all kinds of opportunities in your area.  The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is another organization that helps seniors find the perfect volunteer job, whether it’s using skills you already have or if you’re looking to learn something new.

If you’re looking for a way to stay active, both physically and mentally, and involved in your community, consider becoming a volunteer today.

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