As a people, Americans are great at sharing their talents and that goes for every age group. Understandably, Seniors are often associated with volunteer work since they are assumed to have the time to do so. The reality is that the young and old and everyone in between signs up to help organizations and causes close to their heart.
Let’s first look at some of the reasons people volunteer. Even a modicum of research will reveal hundreds of reasons. Here is a short list of good reasons for older adults, pre or post-retirement, to volunteer:
· Satisfaction or pride from having accomplished something
· To teach a skill or donate professional expertise
· To help improve things for neighbors or other people
· Demonstrate commitment to a cause
· To keep busy
· To be a change agent
· To do or learn something new or different
· To belong to a group or be part of a team
· To make new friends
· To have fun
· To make an impact or difference
There are, of course, many ways volunteers benefit of having given of their time and talents. Again, there are dozens of benefits I could list but I’ve tried to mainly list the benefits that may especially be true for pre and post retirees.
· To give back to the community and society
· To gain experience or develop new skills or interests
· To network and make new business contacts
· To enhance or add to their resume
· To keep busy
· To meet new friends
· In some cases, to travel
· To increase confident or self esteem
· A more fulfilling life
It might surprise some of you that at least one study of adults age 65 and older found that there was a positive correlation between volunteering and both physical and mental health! Another study suggests that satisfying volunteer work may positively affect longevity. Lastly, volunteers age 60 and older consistently reported greater life satisfaction and better health than do non-volunteers!
So, get out there and volunteer! I’ve given you many reasons to do so, and here are some organizations to get you started on your research.