Firstly, senior volunteers bring a wealth of experience and skills to volunteer positions. Many retirees have years of experience in different fields such as finance, education or healthcare that can be utilized by non-profit organizations or local community centers. With their expertise and knowledge, senior volunteers can help these organizations to make more informed decisions that can benefit society as a whole.
Secondly, volunteering in later life has numerous health benefits for seniors including increased physical activity, improved mental health and decreased isolation. Research suggests that volunteer work can help seniors stay active both mentally and physically which helps improve their overall health. Being socially active also helps reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation which are common among older adults who may not have as many social connections as they once did.
According to Senior Corps (a federally funded program), it was estimated that about 20 million seniors aged 55+ volunteered in the US in 2019 for an average of 52 hours per year per person. The most common types of volunteering activities were religious organizations (33%), educational or youth-related organizations (23%) and social or community service organizations (15%).
Senior volunteers not only benefit from contributing towards their community but also by learning new skills themselves. They have an opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds which helps broaden their perspectives on life. Additionally, volunteering often requires learning about new technologies, programs or events which helps keep seniors up-to-date with current trends.
Lastly, volunteering at any age gives people a sense of purpose and fulfillment knowing they are making a difference in other people’s lives. According to Natalie Larson from RSVP-Northern Virginia; “When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to really show your passion for an organization, and it gives you that sense of accomplishment and engagement.”
In conclusion, senior volunteer opportunities are a mutually beneficial arrangement where seniors contribute their experience and talents towards their community, while also receiving numerous physical and mental health benefits. Organizations looking for volunteers should consider recruiting senior citizens to ensure they can take advantage of this valuable member of the community.