Think about the last time you volunteered your time and talents to an important effort or cause. How did it make you feel? With the busy lives we lead, just the thought of volunteering might seem overwhelming, but in reality it could be very beneficial. It’s easy to think about the positive impact that volunteers have on others, but we don’t often consider how rewarding it can be for a volunteer to reach out and make a difference in someone’s life. As we approach the summer solstice, put those many hours of daylight to good use. Here are five good reasons for seniors and caregivers alike to volunteer:
1. Find Meaning and Purpose at Any Age: Sharing what you’ve learned with others can be a rewarding opportunity to give back. It’s also an opportunity not relegated to the young. Between 2009 and 2011, the average national volunteer rate of older adults was 23.9% per year, as compared to baby boomers at 29.2% and young adults at 22.1%. Average older adult volunteer rates for states ranged from 17.4% to 39.3%. For older adults, a study showed that formal volunteering moderated the loss of a sense of purpose for those who had experienced the loss of major role identities, such as wage-earner and parent. Residents, and family members of residents, at Sunrise Senior Living volunteer through ongoing community service projects. At Sunrise, there are many family members who volunteer as ‘family buddies’ to give advice and encouragement to families of new residents in Reminiscence Memory Care Neighborhoods. They say that they receive satisfaction in knowing they are helping others and that sharing their own personal stories is therapeutic.