Four Important Reasons Why Older Adults Should Volunteer
You may have heard that volunteering can benefit you as much as the people or organizations you’re helping, and it’s absolutely true—especially for older adults. Those who volunteer have better physical and psychological well-being, live longer and are able to develop strong relationships with others, all while giving back to their community. Volunteering provides benefits to your sense of community and several others too:
- A healthier body: Most volunteer opportunities involve a certain amount of movement, and being active is an important step towards staying healthy. Some volunteer positions are more involved (like building a house for Habitat for Humanity), while others are less strenuous (like packaging food for the homeless or visiting a hospital). Adding in extra movement and activity to your day is a great way to stay fit and healthy.
- A better mood: Research shows that those who volunteer have a reduced risk for depression and are more satisfied with their lives than those who don’t.
- A chance to connect across generations: Many younger people are encouraged to volunteer as a way to build their resume, so this gives you an opportunity to spend time with people of all ages. In fact, the social benefits from interacting socially with others include lower blood pressure, reduced risk for cardiovascular problems and a smaller risk for depression. You can also choose to volunteer at a children’s hospital, or extended care facility if you enjoy connecting with a specific age group.
- A renewed sense of purpose: The nature of volunteering allows you to support specific issues or causes, meaning you get to make an impact in an area you’re passionate about, which brings you satisfaction.
These are just some of the reasons Edie Fagenson-Rubin, a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan member and retired social worker, volunteers. “I have always done volunteer work in addition to raising a family and working,” she says. “Now I find it especially gratifying to be able to volunteer for the causes I find most meaningful and to have the flexibility to choose the days and hours I volunteer. It is personally satisfying to be able to give back to my community.”
Ready to get involved? Find opportunities around Michigan below:
- Forgotten Harvest: Help end hunger in the metro Detroit area by working in the warehouse or out on the farm.
- Meals On Wheels: Deliver meals and a smile to homebound seniors around the state.
- Children’s Hospital of Michigan: Volunteer at this Detroit hospital and help a child and their family feel loved during their hospital stay. Whether you spend time feeding a baby or reading to children, you’ll restore a sense of normalcy for those who are going through difficult times.
- Michigan Humane Society– The animal shelter offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, including working in the administrative office, helping out at the adoption center and more. There are locations in Detroit, Bingham Farms, Rochester Hills and Westland.
- Mentor Michigan: Mentor Michigan works with 250 different organizations around the state to match you with a young person. Make a difference in someone’s life by passing on advice and helping out with important decisions.
For more information on the benefits of volunteering, check out the articles below:
- Why Volunteering is a Healthy Habit to Start
- Give Back With Volunteer Opportunities All Over Michigan
- Behind the Curve: 5 Ways to Volunteer to Tackle Illiteracy in Detroit
Photo Source: Matthias Zomer