Many people look forward to retirement. It is a time of less stress, fewer responsibilities, and more time to pursue hobbies. What few anticipate, however, is that it may end up being too much of a good thing. Aging and retirement can lead to isolation, with little or no contact with the outside world. Lack of exercise and socialization can lead to depression and deteriorated health. That doesn’t sound like the rosy picture of retirement that most of us anticipate.
Volunteering is one of the best ways for retired people to stay involved, stay active, and have fun. It can improve an elderly person’s life in a myriad of ways. A senior may ask you to give them “one good reason” why they should volunteer. Well, here are three.
Through volunteering, a senior can demonstrate their talents and skills to the community, as well as their resilience and ability to stay active. If the senior misses working and having a stimulating career, volunteering will provide the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that work used to provide. When the brain stays active it is better equipped to ward off Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. When the body stays active it can in longevity and a stronger defense against disease.
Another benefit of volunteering is that the senior can mingle with younger people, keeping them vital through intergenerational contact. Old and young mingle, communicate, learning from one another. Across the country, dozens of companies will help place seniors in positions from which they can give back to their community.
Whether it’s building houses for Habitat for Humanity or working as a guide at a local museum, every retired senior can find a volunteer position that meets their interests. Retired Senior & Volunteer Program (RSVP) provides trained assistants to place seniors in services appropriate to their skills and interests.
RSVP is just one of many companies providing practical options for adults to expand their horizons and reap the benefits of volunteering. Another organization called Foster Grandparents provides tutoring, mentoring, and caring for disadvantaged and special needs children. The Senior Companion Program is where seniors can help other seniors by visiting them. Seniors Helping Seniors provides support services through email and phone calls.
Regular stimulation of the mind and body through volunteering can keep us healthy and happy.
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