How Older Adults Can Get Involved and Get Rewarded Through Volunteering

Older adults may find that they have a lot of extra time they need to fill each day after retirement. At first, the ability to relax and "do nothing" may be appealing and enjoyable, but eventually, many seniors find themselves looking for things to do. Once you've reorganized every room in your home, repaired the leaky faucets or squeaky doors, and donated your old clothing to local charities, it may be time to start volunteering.

Why You Should Volunteer

Becoming a volunteer is a wonderful way to spend as much or as little time as you want giving back to your community and making a difference in the lives of others.

Volunteering has so many benefits for everyone, but especially for older adults:

  • Social interaction: AARP estimates that at least 17% of older Americans are isolated from society. Volunteering allows you to engage with others, whether in person or virtually.
  • Mental cognition: Keeping your body and mind active will help to avoid memory loss and other age-related cognitive declines.
  • Avoid or reverse depression: 70% of older adults who volunteer said that their levels of depression and sadness were reduced through volunteering.

Ramona Griego, a volunteer with the Santa Fe Senior Companion program, told AARP, "The program has allowed me to enjoy my life as I age, and I feel important when I can help my clients with small things that allow them to remain in their homes."

If you or the older adult you care for cannot drive, SoulTab offers on-demand pick-up and drop-off car services to our clients.

Volunteer Opportunities

There are so many ways to volunteer. What you choose to do will depend on your abilities, your physical strength, and your interests. Here are some of the organizations that welcome older adults as volunteers.

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers

If you love researching and gathering information, the Smithsonian wants your help updating and adding to their vast archives, as well as their Wikipedia project. A lot of projects are home-based.

Score

For those with business expertise, Score is an excellent place to consider volunteering your time. For example, you can help mentor others just starting out, teach a class, or do consulting work.

Cook for a Local Shelter

Cooking for a large family is something many retirees miss when they are living on their own. Use your cooking skills to provide meals for people who need a hot meal or families living below the poverty line.

Take Your Pet to Cheer Up Hospital Patients

If you have a pet with lots of love to give, volunteer to visit people in the hospital, or need other types of pet therapy. There is a screening process to make sure your pet is a good fit, but this is a great way to help others and enjoy watching your pet make others happy, too.

Teach or Coach Young Athletes

You may not be able to play football or softball the way you once did, but you can use your years of experience and training to help young kids get started on their athletic careers. Contact your local children's sports organizations to learn how you can share your skills with kids who may not have an adult in their lives who know how to swing a bat or toss a football.

Volunteer as a Tutor

Many schools have afterschool programs where children stay when their parents are still at work. Find out about volunteering to be a tutor in a subject you know and enjoy.

Virtual Volunteering

It may be easier for you to volunteer from home. Volunteer Match has hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities from which to choose. If you are wary of technology, the SoulTab app can help—as can your caregiver and family members—to get you set up and comfortable with what you need to do.

Volunteering will give your days purpose if you feel aimless and lonely in retirement. Your family and caregiver will be happy that you have found something positive and rewarding to do. Check out the choices listed here or other options for volunteering in your community.

Rewarded

11-22-2021

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