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Volunteer opportunities for seniors may be plentiful in your community. According to the National Institutes of Health, volunteering can
- Keep you active and engaged
- Help you make new friends
- Make you feel good to be helping out
How can volunteer opportunities be healthy for seniors?
The National Institute on Aging notes that keeping your mind and body active can help you stay independent – and even help your cognitive health (your ability to think and reason). So it might make sense to look for volunteer opportunities to keep you going and growing.
The Gerontologist journal reported on a study involving more than 200 senior volunteers between 56 and 89 years old. Most of the volunteers in the study reported an improvement in their mental health. One reason was that their volunteer opportunities gave most of them a sense of accomplishment and of purpose. The study also related volunteering to better physical health and longer lifespan for seniors.
What if I don’t have any good skills to offer as a senior volunteer?
Do you feel that you don’t have valuable skills to contribute to a volunteer opportunity? HelpGuide.org notes that many organizations offer to train you. It’s a chance to learn something new, and might help open up a wider range of volunteer opportunities for you.
How can I find volunteer opportunities for seniors in my community?
If you have a favorite hobby, perhaps you can think of a volunteer opportunity involving that hobby. A few examples:
- Love animals? Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
- Love kids? Call your local schools and ask about volunteer programs.
- Love nature? Ask the park service in your local state park if they need volunteer docents.
- Love museums? Sometimes they might need volunteer docents.
- Love theatre? See if a theatre in your area needs ushers, or people to help build sets or make props.
- Love crafts, like carpentry or sewing? Someone out there might be grateful if you taught your skill to him or her. If your town has a continuing education program, you might contact them, or your local school. Or, offer your skill where you think it’s needed; see if others in your church want to get together and create a tapestry, for example.
The Senior Corps is a national organization that’s part of the Corporation for National Community & Service. The Senior Corps has a program called RSVP that connects people with volunteer opportunities in every state.
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer fitness programs to help you stay active. If you want to learn more, I’d be happy to explain Medicare plan options to you.
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