There’s no doubt that volunteer efforts do great things for local communities and beyond, but volunteering also offers tremendous benefits for individuals who put in the work. Many seniors in their retirement years turn to volunteering as a way to spend their free time, socialize with others, give back to their community and stay healthy. In fact, recent studies show that those who volunteer regularly experience positive mental and physical health outcomes, such as reduced stress and lower blood pressure.
Michael Rambarose, President and CEO of Whitney Center, a Life Care community in Hamden, CT, says, “Volunteering seems to be especially beneficial for the retired population. After careers are over and families are grown, it can be difficult to feel like you still serve a purpose. Volunteering allows retirees to plug into positive activities that truly benefit others and themselves.”
Whether you’ve been retired for a few months or several years, finding a way to volunteer in your community has the potential to enhance your quality of life. Especially if you can connect to a cause that you’re passionate about, volunteering can change your lifestyle for the better!
Volunteering for a Better Lifestyle
According to an article for Senior Community Services, adults aged 60 and older who volunteer reported lower levels of disability and higher levels of overall well-being compared to those who did not volunteer. In addition to increasing one’s independence and total sense of wellness, volunteering during retirement has plenty of other benefits as well:
- Promotes Physical Activity – By having somewhere to go and something to do, you can be active by default when regularly volunteering. Sometimes, it’s great just to get out of the house! However, many organizations that you can volunteer for also require some degree of physical activity. Whether you’re working in the community kitchen or leading a class a local church’s vacation Bible school, these opportunities encourage you to get up and stay active. If you really want to stay active, volunteering for a community sports league is sure to keep you moving!
- Prevents Isolation & Depression – Retirees can run the risk of social isolation if they don’t have commitments to get out of the house regularly. Volunteering is a great way to socialize with other people and avoid the pitfalls of loneliness and the depression that could accompany it. Most volunteer opportunities require you to work with others, either other volunteers or the people you’re serving. Plus, if meeting new people isn’t your favorite thing, you can always bring a friend to volunteer with you.
- Bridges the Generation Gap – Retired adults have so much to offer their community – especially members of younger generations. By working together for an organization or on a community project, retirees and younger adults can share their knowledge and know-how to not only succeed in their work but also form important connections between generations. While you can share your experience and wisdom with younger folks, they may be able to teach you something new and share a unique perspective.
- Renews Spiritual Purpose – We all want to feel like our life serves a purpose – something greater than just our solitary existence. After career and family goals have been accomplished, it can be hard to decide what your purpose is now as a retiree. Reaching out and finding volunteer opportunities could help you figure this out. Whether your volunteer work is helping someone directly or making your community stronger, it’s sure to have a positive impact. Doing good, constructive work for others is always healthy for the spirit.
- Boosts Self-Esteem – When we do something productive, it helps us feel capable and increases our sense of self-worth. Actively volunteering can help you stay emotionally healthy by continually providing feelings of accomplishment and altruism. Plus, if volunteering is also a social opportunity, being around others can boost your self-esteem as well as help you build relationships.
- Improves Cognitive Resilience – Doing active work, staying social and working towards goals can help improve cognitive health and lower your risk of memory loss as you age. The National Institute on Aging reported that keeping the brain active with meaningful, productive activities can lower your risk of cognitive decline and other health problems. The tasks you do as you volunteer can help keep your mind sharp and resilient throughout your retirement years.
- Leaves a Legacy – Doing good deeds and committing your time to something that matters to you is a wonderful way to be remembered. The work you do as a volunteer could leave a legacy for your kids and grandchildren and everyone else throughout your community. You’re never too old to inspire others with passion and hard work. If you ever wonder what your legacy might be, the dedication you’ve given to a particular cause or organization might be the answer.
Live a Life Full of Meaning
“At Whitney Center,” says Rambarose, “we believe the best years are still ahead. That’s why we work hard to promote countless opportunities for our residents to live a lifestyle that fulfills them. Whether that takes the form of volunteering or pouring into their passions, we’re here to help make it happen.”
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about volunteering during retirement, give Whitney Center a call. Our community has a robust volunteering program with dozens of partnerships throughout the Greater New Haven area. We can help you find a volunteering opportunity or share our experience in creating meaningful senior lifestyles.
Discover Excellence in Senior Living.
At Whitney Center, you’ll find a distinguished senior living community where residents do what they love. Located in Hamden, Connecticut, Whitney Center combines all the cultural, educational and historical charms of the Greater New Haven area with the intricate details of daily life for active seniors. Whitney Center is a Life Care community, offering not just an unparalleled independent living lifestyle, but a full continuum of care services as well, including assisted living, rehabilitation, skilled nursing care and memory care. Whitney Center even offers a home-based long-term care program, Thrive at Home, which connects seniors to the services they need to live well in their own home.
Choice. Freedom. Opportunity.
We believe that remaining engaged and striving for excellence builds a more meaningful life. That’s why residents experience a host of services and amenities, events and cultural opportunities and wellness programs designed to foster endless growth and personalized living. Backed by our first-rate hospitality and philosophy of continuous improvement, our residents are free to travel, learn, volunteer, set new goals and create the life they want to live.
Come Here to Thrive.
At Whitney Center, residents live in the midst of cultural arts and education and dignified connections to the greater community. Seniors thrive in pursuit of what brings them joy, with unlimited opportunities to create and contribute. And, with the confidence in quality care services available on site if health needs ever change, Whitney Center makes it possible for seniors to continue enjoying the freedom to embrace life at its fullest.