When we think of Volunteering, we think about dedicating our time and energy to helping to support others in our community. The act of Volunteering is itself motivated by kindness and dedication to doing all we can to help others, but it can also have impacts on our own lives that are beneficial for mental and physical wellbeing.
Volunteering can be a wonderful opportunity for seniors to fill their time and to feel like they are making a meaningful contribution to causes or areas of their community that are important to them. With so many options available in places like animal shelters, children’s hospitals, food banks, homeless shelters, community events, workshops, museums, churches, and so much more, seniors can find somewhere to Volunteer their time no matter what their interests, passions, or values are.
The following are some examples of the many ways in which Volunteering can benefit seniors.
- Physical Activity: In many Volunteer environments, there is some degree of movement involved that can help to keep seniors active and strong.
- Cognitive Health: A lot of Volunteering involves learning skills, following directions, thinking through things, and planning. All of these behaviours, among others, are great for exercising the brain and supporting cognitive function in seniors.
- Social Connection: Getting out of the house and into a Volunteer setting can help to combat senior isolation and create connections that are so important for wellbeing. Seniors can meet people with common interests and values, and can work together to strengthen ties. Being social in this way can help to lower risk of depression as well.
- Intergenerational Relationships: Volunteer settings often bring together people from all age groups who are interested in contributing. Through these opportunities, seniors can meet more members of younger generations and create meaningful and mutually-beneficial relationships.
- Self-Esteem and Purpose: Volunteering can give seniors who are retired a sense of purpose and direction and can be incredible for self-esteem. Seniors can learn to use their skills and strengths, and can cultivate new ones so that they feel confident and proud of their contributions.
Volunteering is something that is good all around. It is a wonderful way for seniors to improve their state of wellbeing while contributing to their communities and to areas that they are passionate about.