4 Benefits of Volunteering for Seniors

June 15, 2023 | Senior Living
benefits of volunteering for seniors

Giving back is one of the best ways to strengthen a community; volunteers truly make a difference by serving and helping others. Volunteering opportunities are endless and can align with a person’s hobbies and interests. For instance, if you love animals, you could volunteer at your local humane society. If you’re an art buff, volunteer as a local museum tour guide. 

However, giving back doesn’t just help your community thrive. Did you know that there are incredible health and wellness benefits of volunteering? When you sign up as a volunteer, you can expect to improve your health, relationships and skillsets, especially for older adults. 

Astral at Auburn promotes active living in our senior living community in Auburn, IN. We recognize that volunteering is an enriching practice, so we’re sharing four benefits of volunteering.

1. Prevents Isolation and Loneliness

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 11 million adults over the age of 65 live alone. Many factors are more likely to occur in this age range, such as:

  • Living at long distances from adult children
  • Not having children
  • Lack of mobility or other health issues that make it difficult to socialize
  • Not enough daily contact with friends or family

The long-term effects of social isolation can be detrimental to the health of older adults, leading to declines in physical and mental health.

However, volunteering is a perfect opportunity to keep yourself socially active by getting involved in local organizations, meeting new people and exploring your community.

2. Bridges Generational Gaps

From social media and technology to music and politics, today’s younger generations are growing up during a different time than older adults. As a result, children and young adults are facing a gap in generational values and perspectives, which is becoming a common factor in how each generation can perceive the other. 

By finding volunteer opportunities with younger people, older adults can share valuable life lessons and increase connections that promote respect and affirmation. Younger generations can also teach seniors new ways of looking at life they might not have considered. 

This type of volunteer work has the potential to change the lives and ideals of young people and can provide older adults with a sense of purpose as they share their valuable skills, help others increase their self-esteem, and create meaningful relationships.

3. Increases Physical Activity and Mental Health

Physical activity is essential to healthy aging, and research has found that when adults over the age of 60 begin to explore volunteering opportunities, their physical health increases more than that of non-volunteers. It’s also been found that volunteering leads to lower rates of anxiety and depression, as the act of spending time helping others increases positive feelings through bursts of dopamine. 

Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that sends messages through the nerve cells and is responsible for feelings of pleasure, motivation and satisfaction. By spending more time volunteering in your community, you’re allowing yourself to improve your mental health through feelings of meaning and appreciation, which can naturally reduce stress and negative thoughts.

4. Creates Opportunities to Learn New Skills

Some older adults may find themselves bored as they enter their retirement years. Whether you’ve found you miss your old routine of going to work every day or you’ve simply lost interest in old passions and hobbies, volunteering is an excellent way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. 

By finding new opportunities that can help you get to know more about your community, help others and make a difference in the lives of others, you can learn helpful new skills and try things that you might not otherwise have participated in. You might even discover a passion and a hobby you’ve never experienced. For example, if you volunteer for an organization like Habitat for Humanity, you can learn valuable carpentry and construction skills. 

Active living is at the forefront of Astral at Auburn’s senior living community in Auburn, IN, and there’s nothing like the feeling of making a difference to increase your motivation, happiness and wellness. 

If you’re ready to learn more about our community, call us at 260-829-4266 or contact us online to connect with one of our senior living experts.

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