Age is nothing but a number. You might have retired from work, but a whole new chapter of life lies ahead of you, waiting to be explored. And nothing can be better than utilizing your time in a meaningful way to do something productive.
Wanting to give back to society is a noble wish, and now that you have some time to spare, why not seek this new venture? If you are someone willing to devote your time to uplift our community, senior volunteerism is just the right choice for you.
Let’s take a peek into what senior volunteers do, to better understand the concept.
What Does Senior Volunteerism Mean?
Doing something that brings a difference to our society always feels good. So, when you have ample time at your disposal and wondering what to do to fill up your days after retirement, volunteering can be a great opportunity for you.
Senior volunteers work with several non-profit organizations or NGOs who work towards developing and improving our community. Contributing to society is a noble job. Volunteering for goodwill can be a healthy and fun way to utilize your leisure time. And it also comes with a lot of benefits.
What Benefits Do Senior Volunteerism Offer?
Old age can get monotonous at times. You might be a solo-ager or even a family person, but finding a job to keep yourself busy can be a real struggle. Signing up for volunteer work will help you enjoy your days and help you lead an active life.
Here are a few of the benefits that senior volunteers enjoy:
1. Promotes An Active Lifestyle
Old age is a time when a constant worry about your health haunts you. Senior Volunteering can be a good way to keep both your body and mind healthy. Maintaining an active lifestyle can help to fend off many diseases. It is also helpful in reducing stress, fighting loneliness, and also elevates your mood. Engaging in volunteering brings all these advantages to the senior volunteers.
2. Exposes To New Experiences
Senior volunteerism can open up an array of opportunities before you. You can help someone in need, visit school children, or even organize a bake sale. You can even have the scope to travel to other places along with your group. If you have a long-lost hobby, this can be an opportunity for you to nurture it again!
3. Socializing And Connecting With People
Connection with people plays an important role in our lives. But the senior citizens often suffer social isolation, which affects their physical as well as psychological health. Volunteering provides opportunities to connect with different types of people and expand your social circle. This helps prevent many senior mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
4. Contribute To The Next Generation
Often older adults don’t have the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren. Volunteering services to local schools or volunteering as a coach to teach sports to young children can be a great way to connect with the younger generation. Imparting your wisdom or sharing your life experiences can open a new world to the children too. Interacting with them builds up a bond between both the generation and cultivates respect and affection.
5. Learn New Skills
Volunteering can be a great scope to learn something new every day. Senior volunteers can learn to communicate with people from various fields of life and know more about different cultures and customs. We witness new inventions almost every day. Learning about new technologies can help to bridge generation gaps.
6. Boost Up Your Spirit
Old age can be a tricky time. You realize you have lost your youthfulness, your health is deteriorating and don’t feel confident and useful. Insecurity and anxiety do not take much time to creep in. Volunteering opportunities for senior citizens in social works can make you feel more capable and optimistic and positively affect your health.
7. Something To Look Forward To
After retiring from work, older adults often find it difficult to adjust to the abundance of time on their hands. They miss being busy. Staying indoors for the most part of the day becomes tedious.
Enrolling as a volunteer can become a reason for you to get out of bed and begin your day. Meetings and discussion sessions with fellow volunteers will give you something to look forward to. It will charge you up with excitement to experience something new every day.
How To Join As A Senior Volunteer?
If you have decided to serve as a volunteer, you need to know how you can get yourself involved. There are various national as well as international organizations that ask elders to join them as a volunteer. A little research about their work and the volunteering opportunities for seniors they offer would help you understand where you want to devote your time.
You can apply online on their web portals or can visit a local kiosk to enlist yourself. Most of the organizations provide multiple fields where you can serve.
Let’s know the various kinds of volunteer opportunities for senior citizens available and what they entail.
What Are The Various Areas Where Seniors Can Volunteer?
From fund-raising to free education, organizations offering programs for community welfare require volunteers for different aspects of their works. Endless volunteering opportunities for seniors are available if you make up your mind to dedicate your time and efforts.
1. Feed The Hungry
Hunger has become one of the most pressing issues of the time that needs to be resolved. There are hundreds of families around the world who seek food assistance every day. Senior volunteers can serve at Hunger Relief programs. Soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels, and other non-profit organizations offer programs devoted to feed the needy and prevent malnutrition. One can also serve at religious centers that offer hunger relief to the homeless.
2. Befriend The Animals
Elders with frail health and a fixed income often fail to tend to their pets. Old age makes keeping pets quite difficult.
Animal shelters provide the perfect opportunity to get close to furry friends. Seniors can volunteer at animal rescue programs at any animal shelter.
Animal lovers willing and capable of taking in pets can become foster parents to rescued homeless animals. This can be a great way to commit your time to humanitarian works and enjoy working.
3. Become A Legal Advisor
Organizations working towards community welfare, often require legal advisors to advocate on their behalf. People approaching for help from these organizations often cannot afford lawyers. Senior adults with a legal background can offer their services in cases of minority rights, domestic violence, or other abuse cases as pro bono work. Their experience and skills can play a major role in the wellbeing of the needy.
4. Volunteer In A Political Campaign
Politics and activism can be of much interest to the retirees. A movement cannot succeed unless people are made aware of the cause. Campaigning for a good cause, active participation in the movement can be great volunteering opportunities for seniors. They can even engage in campaigning for any local political candidate whom they support.
5. Become A Tour Guide
Senior citizens have spent a lot of their time in knowing the place they live in. They have come to know all the nooks and corners and the best places in their town.
After their retirement, elders can enroll themselves as a tour guide and help to educate the visitors to know more about the place. Senior volunteers can lead tours to various historical sites, important landmarks, and other tourist attractions and tell the long-known stories about the places.
6. Know The Young Generation
Kids nowadays do not always get the opportunity to learn from their grandparents. They miss out on the amazing learning experience that elders can provide by sharing their valuable wisdom.
Senior volunteers can also offer to coach at a community youth center. They can also engage themselves in children wards at local hospitals and spend time with sick children. Playing games, telling them stories from their lives, reading to them, or even sharing a protein-shake together can help to build up a lasting relationship between the older people and the young generation. Interacting with the youth can also be a very refreshing and rewarding experience for the elderly.
7. Clean The Community
Cleaning the environment can be a good volunteering opportunity for seniors to contribute to society. Fellows retirees can team up, form a group, and get involved in making the community clean and beautify the environment. Along with the scope to socialize with people, it also provides a scope to lead an active and healthy life.
Thinking of fueling your wanderlust but also want to contribute to society?
Many organizations offer “service learning” trips around the world. Seniors can volunteer themselves to and serve in the restoration of historical sites, protection of wildlife, and also in the preservation of nature. Through these programs, they will also have the opportunity to travel to and visit different parts of the world.
9. Work From Home
When mobility is a challenge, the elderly cannot offer to serve as a volunteer for outdoor works. But if you have the heart to do something worthwhile even when the doors are closed, a window of opportunity will surely open up for you.
Senior citizens who cannot move out of their home, can take advantage of their phones or computers and use them to connect to the outer world. They can provide career counseling to teenagers or even tutor needy kids over the Internet. These kinds of volunteer opportunities for senior citizens can help them to stay busy and conversational even if going out of their house is difficult for them.
10. Help In Disaster Relief
Flood, hurricane, or earthquake affects thousands of people every year. Senior adults with experiences in healthcare can offer to assist in disaster relief programs. Life-saving skills and knowledge about medicine can be great assets that could help the survivors in need. Retired doctors or nurses and other medical professionals can offer to lend their time to provide assistance to people affected by natural calamities.
What Are The Best Places To Volunteer?
So, if you are a retired person or nearing that time, and are concerned about whom to approach for volunteering opportunities, you do not have to think more. We have found out some of the best national and international organizations that would be extremely glad to use your help.
Here are 10 stellar organizations that provide with incredible volunteering opportunities for seniors:
1. Senior Corps
The Senior Corps is a government organization that focuses on connecting senior adults of 55 or above age. They encourage socializing and building communal bonds among seniors. The Senior Corps has certain programs that aim to train older people to become mentors to others. The organization connects almost 220,000 volunteers.
Senior volunteers connected with them can become foster grandparents. They devote their time to child care centers, correctional institutions, or other community centers.
2. Habitat For Humanity
This non-profit organization prides itself on helping the needy and the homeless. They provide shelter and food to them and also work on renovating houses. They offer great programs for retired individuals who want to contribute to the welfare of society and improve the housing-related services and arrangements for lower-income families.
3. American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals
ASPCA is one of the largest humanitarian societies in the world. They play a vital role in rescuing, fostering, and subsequent adoption of homeless and abused animals. ASPCA recruits seniors as volunteers and also trains them for the job. They also ask senior volunteers if they are able to foster animals until they find a home.
So, if you are an animal lover, working at their shelters might be a good way to spend your time.
4. AARP Foundation Experience Corps
The AARP is a non-profit organization that engages seniors aging 50 years or older with a goal to help children to improve their reading skills. The organizations request seniors to enroll with them and also train them to serve at different elementary schools. The volunteers are expected to dedicate their time to improve the literacy skills of school children.
5. Road Scholars
This organization provides a unique opportunity to volunteer while traveling. Road Scholars organize “service-learning trips” and encourage volunteers to participate in activities such as community sanitation programs or preservation of national parks or even to volunteer at schools in different parts of the world to teach needy kids.
6. Big Brothers And Big Sisters
The Big Brother and Big Sister offer a volunteering opportunity for seniors to become a mentor to the youth. They present several agendas to help the troubled youth of the country and become a role model for them. Volunteers can work with school students, children of military families or even coach children whose parents are incarcerated.
7. Meals On Wheels
Meals on Wheels aims to provide nutritious food to seniors who lack mobility. They are highly dependent on volunteers and will gladly accept any help you can offer. Retirees can participate in its mission to deliver meals to several people who are facing the threat of hunger every day.
8. Red Cross
The Red Cross is an organization working worldwide to provide humanitarian support. They too rely heavily on volunteers for their projects. Senior volunteers would find amazing opportunities to serve society with the Red Cross. They can assist in disaster relief programs, fundraising, and also healthcare programs.
9. Peace Corps
The Peace Corps too continually seeks assistance from senior volunteers. It is a government-administered program that involves travelling across the world with an aim to improve the overall lifestyle and promote health among the population. Senior adults can campaign with the organization and help upgrade the welfare of the world.
10. Senior Companion Program
The Senior Companion Program is an offshoot of the Senior Corps. It provides volunteering opportunities for seniors to assist solo-agers or elderly with limited physical capacity in their needs. This program aims to allow the elderly to stay at their own houses and not be compelled to move into a nursing home. The volunteers can assist in doing chores or running errands and also offer their companionship to the fellow elderly.
Lend A Hand, Make A Difference
An act of kindness never goes in vain. Caring for others, even for people you don’t know, gives satisfaction and joy like never before.
Growing old and retiring has nothing to do with wanting to lead a productive and energetic life.
So, if you have some extra time at hand and are willing to put your kind heart at work, senior volunteerism is just the right opportunity for you. Being a part of something of great value like this can enrich your life with incredible experiences to cherish forever.