You’ve worked your whole life to enjoy retirement, and…now what? Sure, it’s great not having to get up and go to work every day, but it has its drawbacks. You’re probably spending more time at home alone. You may even go days or weeks without seeing anyone.
Social isolation can lead to depression and a lack of self-confidence. Individuals who do not engage in meaningful or productive activities are at greater risk of severe health problems, including heart disease, dementia, and other cognitive illnesses.
If you find yourself in this situation or something similar, consider volunteering in retirement.
5 Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement
Retired volunteer opportunities are a great way to help your community. But did you know, they can have a positive impact on your individual health and well-being, too? Keep reading to discover 5 benefits of volunteering in retirement.
- Volunteering is good for your mental health.Volunteering keeps your brain active, which contributes positively to your cognitive health. A recent article by The National Institute on Aging reported that engaging in activities that are meaningful and productive may lower the risk of dementia and other health problems.
- Volunteering promotes physical activity.Because volunteers tend to be busy, you’re moving around a lot more than you would if you were at home. Whether you’re helping with a sporting event, chaperoning a shopping trip, or being someone’s walking companion, this increase in physical activity can help lower blood pressure, lessen stress, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Volunteering reduces depression.Without regular commitments and social interaction, feelings of isolation and depression can creep in. This is especially common for retired seniors whose children are grown and grandchildren are in school. Having a place to go and people to meet can greatly alleviate feelings of social isolation and depression.
- Volunteering helps bridge the generation gap.Everyone has a unique story and something special to offer the world, especially our seniors. Sharing your knowledge and experience with people younger than you or who come from different backgrounds not only helps bridge the generation gap, but creates a connection between people from all walks of life. Conversely, the younger generation may be able to teach you a thing or two as well!
- Volunteering improves your quality of life.Studies show that retired volunteers often feel more capable and confident. With all of the physical and cognitive benefits of volunteering, people who share their time and talents report feeling a sense of life enrichment and tend to live longer.
Important Things to Consider when Choosing Your Volunteer Opportunity
There’s no doubt volunteerism is an excellent way to invest your time. However, it’s still your time. With so many amazing retired volunteer opportunities available, there are some important things to take into consideration when choosing your passion project.
- Find something that fits into your schedule.Volunteering should enrich your life by providing a creative and physical outlet; not force you to give up other obligations or things you love.
- Pique your interests!Give your time to a cause or a subject you’re passionate about. Volunteering shouldn’t feel like a chore; it should be fun! The best way to make sure you enjoy your volunteer time is to choose something that piques your interest.
- Find the right balance.Similar to fitting your volunteerism into your schedule, be careful not to take on more than you can comfortably handle. One of the best benefits of volunteering for seniors is a reduction in stress levels, but you’ll undo all of that if you bite off more than you can chew.
- Consider the culture.What are the people like? Is the organization properly managed? These are critical questions to keep in mind because you want to spend your volunteer time in a place that promotes positivity and helps your overall well-being.
- Bring a friend!Trying something new can be a bit daunting. But, when you bring a friend, you can enjoy the benefits of volunteering together.
Volunteer with Covey
At Covey, we are proud to offer many vibrant volunteer opportunities that help enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities, their families, our community, and our volunteers. Our volunteers assist with daily caregiving services, administrative work, maintenance, events, community engagement outings, Covey Connects classes, and more.