You have earned many titles throughout your life: parent, grandparent, friend. Maybe you found your passion as a teacher, athlete, artist, world traveler, or writer. Perhaps others think of you as a helper, leader, or activist.
One of the beautiful aspects of aging is the opportunity to forge new paths and adopt new titles. An increasing number of older Americans are embracing change, pushing boundaries, and transforming their communities through creativity, commitment, and service by adding “volunteer” to their life stories.
Volunteering is one of the ways older adults can improve their mental and physical health because it builds connections with others. 84% of volunteers report stable or improving health after one year of service, and 88% report lower levels of feelings of isolation, according to a study conducted by AmeriCorps Seniors1.
Here are some wonderful ways you can get involved in your community.
Respond to Local Needs
There are plenty of people and organizations in your community who can benefit from your skills and abilities. From building houses to delivering food, volunteer opportunities often offer flexible hours to match your schedule. So you can work when you want, for the number of hours that are ideal for you, doing things you love. Handy with a hammer? There is likely a construction or renovation project in your area that could use your expertise. And if you have a heart for wounded veterans, there are numerous opportunities for you to serve those who have served our country.
“All the people you meet when you’re a volunteer tell you their stories and experiences,” said Srini Srinivas, a senior volunteer who loves to serve. “You find that very rewarding and it enriches your life. Doing this service is a way of paying it forward. It supports the community. It keeps me active, which is a good thing. You also feel useful.”