Senior citizens are an important part of the volunteer community, with millions of seniors donating their time to make a difference each year. In 2014 alone, the Corporation for National and Community Service reported that 10.7 million older Americans spent a combined 2 billion hours volunteering. Studies have also shown that volunteering has great benefits as you age – older volunteers show lower mortality and depression rates, fewer physical limitations, and higher levels of well-being compared to others in their age group. The National Institute on Aging found that participating in meaningful, productive activities such as volunteering may lower the risk of health problems, including dementia, and improve longevity.
Here are four ways seniors can get involved in their community:
1. Join RSVP
RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and older. A program of Senior Corps, it provides flexible and diverse opportunities for older adults to get involved in their communities.
2. Spend time with kids
There are plenty of ways for older volunteers to engage with kids and share some love with a younger generation. Check out the Service Corps Foster Grandparents program or Big Brothers Big Sisters to match with a child today! You can also reach out to your local children’s hospital to see how you can support patients and their families.
3. Help out a fellow senior
For those looking to connect with someone their own age, consider becoming a Senior Companion to help others remain independent as they age. Many residents of assisted living facilities would love to see a friendly face, too, so consider stopping by and seeing how you can brighten someone’s day.
4. Start small
“Microvolunteering” is a great way to make an impact with small actions that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Visit Help from Home for hundreds of bite-size service projects that you can do on your own time with skills you already have.
Find volunteer opportunities in your community at www.allforgood.org.