a grandpa picking up trash with his granddaughter

The Benefits of Volunteering for Seniors

How will I spend my time in retirement? It’s a question many seniors ask themselves. Many people find themselves compelled to continue the kind of meaningful work that has framed their entire lives up until retirement. Often times, volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about can be the most fulfilling – and healthiest – way to satisfy that desire. Health benefits of volunteering and emotional benefits of volunteering for seniors extend far beyond simply finding a way to fill your time.

a senior man volunteering and picking up trash

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering not only helps improve the lives of other people, it improves your own health, happiness and longevity. In an independent national study sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the vast majority of 1,200 first-time senior volunteers showed positive increases in overall health, as well as cognitive and social wellness. Compared to when they started versus two years after serving as a volunteer, these people who gave their time were healthier, less depressed and less socially isolated.

  •   88% reported fewer feelings of isolation
  •   84% reported stable or improving health
  •   78% experienced fewer symptoms of depression
  •   71% reported an improvement in social companionship

And it’s no wonder why. Through volunteering, seniors have the chance to stay active and engaged on a weekly basis – whether it’s walking dogs for the Humane Society, mentoring young people, or donating time to help fellow seniors. Getting out and about is just the start of the health benefits of volunteering. According to the National Institute on Aging, participating in social activities like volunteering can lower your risk of developing cognitive problems like dementia. Focusing your mind on meaningful tasks is proven to make people feel more confident and capable of completing future tasks. The emotional benefits of volunteering are equal to the social benefits. The 78%of volunteers who reported decreased feelings of depression also reported five or more symptoms of depression at the beginning of the study. Likewise, the 88%of volunteers with fewer feelings of isolation first reported a significant lack of companionship at the beginning of the study. Volunteering gives seniors vast opportunities to make meaningful connections with people they would never meet without volunteering – and the overall mental, emotional, and health benefits of volunteering positively changed their lives because of it.

a senior woman volunteering at a soup kitchen

Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

If you’d like to experience the benefits of volunteering for yourself, there is plenty of volunteer work for seniors in Dallas and all over the country. The CNCS’s Senior Corps alone hosts more than 200,000 senior volunteers through their Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion and RSVP programs. In the Foster Grandparents program, seniors have the opportunity to make a difference for children and teenagers with exceptional needs – helping children learn to read, mentoring troubled teenagers, teaching social skills and providing emotional support. Senior Companions is a program in which volunteers 55 and over provide assistance to other seniors who have difficulty with activities of daily living like shopping and housekeeping, along with providing friendly companionship. The RSVP program is a more general volunteering opportunity in which seniors can do an array of activities like tutoring disadvantaged youth, renovating homes, or assisting victims of natural disasters.

Senior living communities like Edgemere provide unique opportunities for volunteerism. Many communities are already involved in Senior Corps programs, while many others have programs specifically tailored to find beneficial volunteer opportunities in their local area as part of their commitment to help residents live fulfilling, purpose-driven lives in retirement.

two senior men enjoying a meal

The Fulfilling Life at Edgemere

Many residents of Edgemere have a long history of volunteerism and philanthropy. They’ll be the first to tell you the profound impact helping others has had on their lives – and that this passion for service has only become stronger during their time at Edgemere. We’re proud to host many service opportunities that help our residents continue to experience the benefits of volunteering and add value to our community. To learn more about the empowering and compassionate lifestyle here at Edgemere, visit our Community Life and Events pages.