For some adults, retirement is a welcome milestone when they can set their career aside and enjoy more time to pursue interests outside of an occupation. While retirement is exciting, it can also leave big pockets of time in the day that need to be filled. Even the most active adult can struggle to find ways to fill the days with purposeful and meaningful activities, events, and opportunities.
Many adults turn to volunteerism as a way to not only fill their calendars, but to also contribute to an organization they are passionate about. If giving your time and talents is important to you, volunteering could be an ideal addition to your new retirement lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know about volunteering.
Volunteerism Keeps You Healthy
People of all ages can benefit from volunteering, but research shows us that there are even more significant impacts to the overall wellness of volunteers over the age of 60. Volunteering after the age of 60 has been linked to decreased depression and anxiety. Further, volunteers report better physical health outcomes than their non-volunteer counterparts, and volunteers report feeling valued and having a purpose more than those that don’t volunteer.
Volunteering also reduces stress and increases socialization. Volunteering somewhere gives you a consistent opportunity to meet new friends and keep up with relationships, which benefits mental and physical health.
Volunteerism Lets You Dictate Your Schedule
When you volunteer, you are empowered with choice. You can not only choose where you want to volunteer, but can also work with the agency to ensure you are in a role that you love, sharing skills you want to share. You might want to offer your business skills in the form of consulting pro bono. Or, you might want something without a lot of extra stress and find joy in clearing tables after a meal in your local domestic violence survivor shelter. You get to work with the agency in order to find the ideal schedule, role, and fit.
You Can Travel to Volunteer…
Some adults choose to take their volunteerism on the road, participating in travel opportunities that are paired with volunteering opportunities. Volunteer tourism, sometimes called purposeful tourism, gives adults the opportunity to travel with a group and mix typical tourist activities with volunteer projects. Depending on the trip, volunteers might clear beaches, read to at-risk youth, or help out with an animal conservation initiative.
But You Don’t Have To
Volunteer tourism isn’t for everyone. If you want to find long-term relationships and give back to an organization over many months or years, local volunteering is your best bet. Look for opportunities that serve organizations or causes you are passionate about, or search for agencies that are near your location.
Invite a Friend
Even though you’ll meet new friends at your volunteer role, you can always bring along a friend with you as well. If you live in a retirement community, finding a neighbor to volunteer with you will be even easier. You might feel more confident in a new volunteer situation with an old friend by your side.
Volunteering can not only be beneficial to the agency and community you serve, but also to your own overall wellness. It’s truly a win-win situation for everyone.
Both current residents and members of the community volunteer at The Glen in various ways. Click here to see how you can help The Glen meet its mission through volunteering.