The effects of volunteering have been proven to be so effective as a way to help seniors find motivation and fight depression that the United Kingdom’s National Health Service labeled volunteering activities as one of five recommended behaviors for health and well-being. Seniors offer a lifetime of wisdom and experience – they can benefit the community in a wide variety of ways, and they can help other generations by sharing their perspective and providing solution options that have worked for them in past situations. Seniors are also often the best volunteers to help their fellow seniors, an act that helps to create comfort and build friendships for everyone involved.
Volunteer activities have been proven to maintain:
• Improved Health: In studies, volunteering seniors have lower blood pressure and better mental health. Increased activity and better memory are also part of the benefits.
• Boosted Self-Confidence: Seniors who are appreciated and useful have better self-esteem and are more confident about who they are and their value to the community. Volunteering also provides the opportunity to learn new skills and take on new challenges, and that sense of accomplishment can be a real boost to self-esteem.
• Better Outlook: Studies show that volunteer activities disrupt negative thought patterns and help to fight depression. The structure created by appointments and activities battles the ennui that many seniors experiences and the ability to contribute and see the outcome of that effort helps give seniors motivation and purpose.
• Connection: Relationships, friendships, and community connections fight the loneliness and isolation that commonly leads to depression. Volunteer activities are a great way to connect with the community, find new friends and experience different age groups. Seniors have so much to offer other generations. When they volunteer, seniors gain access to the kind of relationships that keep them open minded and searching for new ways to learn and grow.
It’s not difficult to find a good organization that will be eager to help you to volunteer. Many seniors complain of common barriers to volunteering like transportation, time, and skill sets – often these can be easily maganed by the volunteer organization. If you are interested in volunteering, here are a few web sites to get you started: