Volunteering Options for Seniors

If you are a senior citizen, you may have found that you have a little spare time in your life now. This is a common occurrence after retiring and often with children or grandchildren moving away. Volunteering is a great way to spend some of that spare time because it is a chance to give back to the community and have a new experience. However, it has been known to do much more than just that. Volunteering has been linked with being beneficial improvements to physical health as well as mental health while giving the opportunity to connect with others in a productive way that helps the community. There are many questions that seniors have about volunteering, especially those that have never volunteered before. Here is a list of educational questions that many seniors that are interested in volunteering have had in the past, and some answers that you may be looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there a maximum age limit to volunteer?

A: No there is not. No matter how old you are, there is a way that you can contribute. Mentoring, which is a very common way that seniors volunteer, can be done at any age. One could even argue that mentors actually get better with age because they have more time and experience. Other areas typically do not have an age limit, but rather have limitations on being able to accomplish certain tasks. These tasks are typically light tasks like answering a phone or answering questions that people may have, and most will qualify.

Q: What are the physical benefits of volunteering?

A: Volunteer opportunities that require movement are very favorable to physical health. Disease, injury and dementia have all been shown to be less common in active people, so staying active could potentially keep you from developing health issues. Not all volunteer positions are active positions, so if being active is something that you desire from your volunteering be sure to ask the person in charge if the position is active. Being active also makes you more physically fit, even if the activity is minimal. A position that involves light walking can be beneficial in maintaining fitness and help with longevity and quality of life.

Q: Who will I be working with?

A: There is a wide range of age groups that you could possibly be working with when you are volunteering, and it will depend on where you work. You could possibly be working with other seniors that are also volunteering or you could work with children. If you have a specific age group that you want to work with, be sure to talk to the volunteering director at where you want to volunteer to see if they have any opportunities with that demographic.

Q: What are the mental health benefits of volunteering?

A: There are many mental health benefits to volunteering, and it seems like more are being discovered every single day. One thing that volunteering can help prevent in regard to your mental health is Alzheimer’s disease. Being engaged and remaining active helps push back the effects of Alzheimer’s and in some cases prevent them altogether. Remaining engaged in a meaningful activity like volunteering can also help lower your risk of dementia and has many other cognitive health benefits.

Q: Can I volunteer from home?

A: Yes. You can volunteer as a mentor online and help make a difference in the life of a young person. Your life experiences are valuable and could influence a young person to make an informed decision about staying in school or choosing a career path that is right for them. As an e-mentor you would receive training that enables you to be the best mentor you can be and shows you how to relate easily to the youth’s interests and talents. You can mentor online and make a difference without even leaving your home.

Q: What kind of opportunities are available for volunteering as a senior?

A: There are many different volunteer opportunities for seniors. The senior corps includes many different programs including RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and The Senior Companion Program. Members from the RSVP program participate in a number of different projects from managing other volunteers to tutoring and mentoring children. They also have some that respond to natural disasters and do other environmental projects. Foster Grandparents is more focused on tutoring and mentoring children with special needs in schools, detention facilities, and child care centers. The third program, The Senior Companion Program, is focused on seniors helping other seniors that need help with daily tasks or just need company. The Senior Citizens Bureau also has many volunteer positions that help with writing emails, taking phone calls and doing research. If you have a specialized skill from a career that you want to use in your volunteer work there are programs available for that as well. One example is volunteering in The International Senior Lawyers Project if you are a retired lawyer and want to offer pro bono legal work.

Q: What if I do not have a lot of available time? Can I still volunteer?

A: Yes. Your time is appreciated no matter how much time you are able to volunteer for. Most of the places that accept volunteers are okay with volunteers volunteering as little as just a few hours a week and most of them work with your schedule. Even if you are not able to volunteer a lot of hours, volunteering is still beneficial to you because you are getting out and socializing on a regular basis. Your couple of hours that you are able to volunteer will make a difference and possibly change someone’s life so do not let yourself believe that you just as well not volunteer if you only have a few hours a week to contribute.

Hopefully this has answered a few questions you had about the volunteering process. The best place to start is by calling one of the places you are considering volunteering at and letting them know that you are interested. Good luck, and enjoy volunteering.

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