Retired friends often ask one another, “What are you up to tomorrow?” For many, crafting, movie-going, and visits with treasured grandchildren are on the list. And, for more and more retirees, volunteering is also on the list. Volunteering is a means of philanthropy that is among the most highly valued by charitable organizations.
Research continues to reveal the win/win nature of volunteerism as it provides tremendous benefits for both the volunteer and the receiving organization. In 2017 alone, volunteers gave the equivalent of $184 billion dollars with their gifts of time. Although retirees make up only 31% of the adult U.S. population, they account for 45% of all the hours volunteered annually.
Moving from a life structured around work to the non-structured life of retirement can be daunting. Social isolation and boredom can result in reduced physical activity and depression. Regularly volunteering can provide structure, a way to meet and engage with others, and opportunities to use long-honed skills or, to learn new ones. Even winter visitors (otherwise known as snowbirds) are volunteering because this is one of fastest ways to meet people who like and value the same things.
Research continues to reveal that seniors who volunteer have lower rates of depression, lower blood pressure and lower mortality rates. Depending upon the opportunity, volunteering can even be a way for seniors to share important life lessons with younger generations. Retirement is a hard-earned phase of life and should be an enjoyable and active time. Volunteering can make a significant difference in the health and wellness of retirees. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
To learn more about volunteer senior opportunities in Minnesota, visit http://www.mnseniorcorps.org/volunteering/how/rsvp.aspx