The Health Benefits for Senior Volunteers

As we age, it’s important to stay active and engaged with our communities. One way to do this is through volunteering. Not only does volunteering help others, but there are many health benefits for senior volunteers. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, older adults who volunteered for at least 100 hours per year had higher levels of well-being and lower levels of depression than those who did not volunteer. Here are 5 ways volunteering can positively impact your health:

Improved Mental Health

Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and helps individuals stay socially connected. According to the same study mentioned earlier, senior volunteers who gave at least 100 hours of service per year had a 25% lower risk of developing cognitive impairment than those who did not volunteer.

Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

Volunteering promotes physical activity and can help older adults maintain mobility and independence. According to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, older adults who volunteered for at least 200 hours per year had a 40% lower risk of hypertension, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, than those who did not volunteer.

Increased Social Connections

Volunteering provides opportunities for older adults to connect with others and form meaningful relationships. This is particularly important for those who may be at risk of social isolation. Social isolation and loneliness can have negative health effects, including an increased risk of chronic diseases and cognitive decline. In fact, a study published in the journal Psychology and Aging found that volunteering was associated with a 30% reduction in the risk of dementia among older adults.

Sense of Fulfillment

Volunteering can provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose in life. Older volunteers experience higher levels of life satisfaction and overall well-being. In fact, one study found that volunteering was associated with a 22% reduction in the risk of death among older adults.

Improved Cognitive Function

Volunteering can help keep the brain active and improve cognitive function. According to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, older adults who volunteered for at least 15 hours per month showed improved cognitive function compared to those who did not volunteer.

Giving back to the community provides a great opportunity to build new memories with your loved one. Get creative and see how many ways you can make a difference in your community and enjoy the health benefits of volunteering!

Find Opportunities for Senior Volunteers

If you’re interested in finding volunteer opportunities, there are many resources available to help. Get started with these:

  • Americorps: a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that connects older adults with volunteer opportunities in their communities.
  • VolunteerMatch: an online platform that connects volunteers with organizations in need,
  • AARP: offers a searchable database of opportunities for senior volunteers.
  • Local Organizations: Every community has lots of opportunities to give back. Check with community non-profits, local government organizations, schools, libraries, hospitals, churches, and more.

Disclaimer: This site provides general information and does not offer professional advice. Although we aim for accuracy, we advise consulting experts for specific guidance. Any decisions made using this information are the sole responsibility of the individual.

Liz Craven
Liz Craven

Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide alongside her husband Wes, brings a blend of personal experience and heartfelt dedication to her work. Their path in eldercare started with a family story — caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who faced Alzheimer's. This personal chapter not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also ignited their passion to support others in similar situations. Later, Liz and Wes filled the caregiver role three more times for their parents. Through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide, Liz offers a mix of empathetic insight and practical advice, making eldercare more approachable and less daunting for families. Her commitment shines through in every piece of advice, aiming to ease the journey for others as they navigate the world of eldercare.

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