Community Blog

5 Healthy Reasons for Seniors to Volunteer

By Debbie Humphrey

I am so blessed to have had some of the best teachers on the planet! Two of these amazing educators are a married couple: Mr B, a soft-spoken biology teacher; and Mrs B, an out-spoken, active health and physical education teacher. In fact, Mrs B was awarded a coveted place in our state’s Athletic Hall of Fame for her outstanding cheerleading coaching legacy.

Both of these individuals are pillars of the community and beloved by all of their former students. I feel confident saying “all” because I’ve never known a soul to say anything negative about either of them.

Mr & Mrs B have long since retired from teaching high school students, but they are ever present in the lives of others. Both are seniors who volunteer to help others and spend a good portion of their retirement giving back. Both regularly donate their time to our hometown hospital in the gift shop, at the check-in desk, or anywhere they can be of service to others.

It’s the same at the church we attend and the school where they used to teach. They have servant’s hearts and are willing to give their time and talents to help others.

Seniors who volunteer find it is not only personally rewarding, it is physically, mentally and emotionally gratifying, too. Volunteering is a way to stay proactively engaged with others – some of whom need encouragement and support at some of the most lonely, trying times of their lives – and selflessly give back to your community.

Becoming a volunteer is a great way to stay productive, and it will undeniably boost self confidence, prevent episodes of isolation and depression, and promote overall better health.

MedicareFAQ has outlined five healthy reasons for seniors to volunteer:

Volunteering benefits brain health.

A study conducted involving seniors who volunteered 3-4 hours/week, concluded they all demonstrated improved memory and speech. Moreover, a review of 45 years of studies observing senior volunteers showed they had better physical and mental health; exhibited more happiness with fewer feelings of depression; and presented with improved mental function and more overall social satisfaction.

Volunteering promotes physical activity.

It stands to reason that if you get out of the house to volunteer, you are bound to get more physical activity than sitting at home. “A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University also proved that individuals over 50 who volunteered were at decreased risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure leads to stroke, heart attack, and other conditions.”Volunteering may also reduce stress which can lead to other physical, mental and emotional ailments. Physical activity is crucial as we age, no matter what we do to keep our bodies moving!

Volunteering provides a sense of purpose.

Like with Mr & Mrs B, who gain great satisfaction in helping others, volunteering seniors typically feel better mentally and physically because they maintain a sense of purpose. After retirement from the workforce, motivation can diminish when there’s no clear reason to get up in the morning. Volunteering restores purpose for seniors and motivates them to use their own unique skills and talents to benefit others. Now, that’s a great feeling!

Volunteering is a pathway to human connection.

When seniors live alone, it is important to keep their minds engaged and their bodies moving. When seniors volunteer, it forces physical movement, human interaction and engagement that is crucial for healthy living. By connecting with others socially as a volunteer, there are a myriad of opportunities to help the community and its citizens, while making new friends, and enjoying fun activities to brighten the lives of everyone!

Volunteering bridges generation gaps.

There’s no question that seniors are wise. They’ve lived through times of war and civil turmoil, as well as many positive historical events. They bring a lot of wisdom and experience to the table that which younger generations can truly benefit. Hospitals, schools, wherever children, teens and young adults are found, seniors have a lot to offer. Whether senior volunteers are providing academic, social or emotional support to young people, the benefits surely work both ways between the generations!

In observance of National Volunteer Month, if you or a senior you know is interested in volunteering at a local hospital, animal shelter, school, assisted living facility, nursing home, or non-profit organization of interest, Home Helpers® is here to help with transportation assistance  and/or companionship for the venture. I am happy to offer a FREE Consultation to discuss a personalized care plan and schedule to enhance your life as a volunteer and make it even more healthy and fulfilling!

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018 & 2019. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠  727.942.2539

Source: MedicareFAQ