If you’re an older adult looking to stay active and involved, volunteering might be right up your alley. Not only will you be giving back to your community and helping those in need, but you’ll also gain a number of benefits of volunteering along the way. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits so you can decide if volunteering might be right for you.
It’s Beneficial For Your Mental Health
People who volunteer feel more satisfied with their lives than those who don’t. Studies have also shown that volunteers are happier, more relaxed, and more optimistic. They have lower stress levels, better sleep habits, stronger immune systems, and a longer life expectancy. In addition to having overall feelings of well-being, volunteers tend to be less depressed than non-volunteers. Being around others and feeling like you’re contributing to your community can help boost your mood by increasing social connections and decreasing isolation. This could be particularly beneficial for older adults living alone or in long-term care facilities because volunteering is an excellent way to keep mentally active as well as develop new interests outside of their normal routine. (Of course, it’s also fun!)
Eliminates Loneliness And Isolation
Studies show that older adults with strong social networks tend to live longer and have better health than those who don’t. According to researchers, spending time with other people strengthens your immune system, helping you fight off infections. Engaging in purposeful activity also reduces depression and increases optimism, which contributes to overall wellbeing. If you aren’t making time for volunteering or staying connected to your community already, it might be a good idea to think about how you can incorporate it into your schedule. As we get older and start losing loved ones, our worlds become smaller; volunteering is a great way to counteract that.
The Sense Of Purpose That It Gives You Is Indescribable
Volunteering is a great way to keep yourself busy and interested. You will have something to do that is both useful and fulfilling. Studies have shown that people who volunteer live longer, are happier, and tend to cope better with difficult life changes than those who don’t volunteer at all. The key is finding a cause you care about. If you can connect your passion for animals, children, or helping others in some way, then volunteering might be for you!
It Helps You Meet New Friends
As we age, it can be hard to find people with similar interests as our own. Luckily, volunteering can help older adults meet new friends that share their hobbies and interests. For example, if you’re an avid gardener looking for new connections, consider joining a community garden in your area. Joining local volunteer programs is also a great way to make friends around town who share similar values and beliefs. And volunteering doesn’t have to happen in groups—there are plenty of opportunities to join one-on-one activities such as tutoring or visiting people in nursing homes or assisted living communities.
It Helps You Become More Physically Active
There are many studies that show volunteering increases physical activity, regardless of an individual’s age. Even a 15-minute volunteer activity can get you moving for some exercise. In fact, in one study, researchers found that older adults who volunteered were more likely to use their neighborhood walking paths than those who didn’t. Walking is known to be a great way to stay fit and healthy in retirement.