As a mature adult, you’ve probably experienced a thing or two. They say “life is a journey” and if you’re at the mid-point of the trip or even a bit beyond it, chances are you’ve spent considerable time engaged in some kind of employment, perhaps you obtained a post-secondary education, maybe you even married, had kids, helped out at PTA meetings or coached a local soccer team. In other words, you’ve got some solid life experience behind you and maybe now – if you’re lucky – a little more time on your hands. If that sounds like you and you’re looking to make new friends and engage in new activities, it might be time to consider volunteering and sharing your expertise with the world!

In a previous blog we touched on the topic of volunteering and how important it can be but if you need further encouragement, here are some important facts:

  • Connecting with people

    • Volunteering is a chance to get out and meet other like-minded people in your community and maybe make a new friend or two along the way. It encourages you to leave the house, develop (or enhance) your social skills and strengthen ties within the community. Volunteering helps to combat loneliness which often impacts older adults more than any other age group.
  • Assisting others is a good thing

    • Research has shown that not just seniors but people of every age, are hard-wired to help others. It makes us happy. Who doesn’t want to be happy?!!!
  • Fulfilling

    • Volunteering will make you feel good. It provides a sense of purpose – if you are new to a community, have recently left the field of employment, or just looking to try something new, volunteering is a great opportunity to do something meaningful. Having a reason to get up in the morning helps provide a sense of purpose for many who are new to navigating all that it means to being a senior.
  • Business Opportunities

    • You may not have reached the age of retirement but with the kids gone you have a bit more time on your hands. Now is the perfect time to join an organization that has local or worldwide impact but also allows you to foster new business relationships and connections. Experience shows that we are more likely to do business with someone with whom we’ve developed a relationship and what better way to do that than by volunteering with an organization like Rotary, Lions, Boys and Girls Clubs, through your local church or any of the many, many service-based organizations that exist in most communities. Now volunteering is not only good for you and the community but also your business. It’s a win-win all around.
  • Good for Mind, Body and Spirit

    • It has been shown that volunteering helps counteract the impact of depression, increases your level of physical activity and can even have a positive impact on things like blood pressure, mobility, heart disease and mental wellness. Volunteering is known to help reduce stress, anger and anxiety. Working with pets, in particular, is shown to have a powerful effect on our mood. Some research has even been done to suggest that volunteering can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s because it helps to keep your brain active and engaged!

If volunteering sounds like something you might be interested in learning more about, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions before you start.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Volunteering

  1. How much of your time are you willing to donate?
  2. Do you want to work with people? With pets?
  3. Do you want to work on the front-lines, actively engaging with others or do you prefer a behind the scenes kind of role?
  4. Do you have technical expertise, organizational skills, or are you more of a “hands-on, feet on the floor” kind of volunteer?
  5. What are your special interests and/or areas of expertise? Are you a fan of history? Perhaps your local historical or preservationist/heritage society needs some assistance. A book nerd? Contact the library or even your local school board – they are often in need of volunteers to sit with children new to literacy. Do you have a green thumb? If so, give your local botanical group a call. The Red Cross, The Salvation Army or your local pet shelter – chances are they are all looking for help!

There is literally no shortage of ways you can help out in your community or even throughout the world at large. Whether your impact is local or large scale, organizing meals on wheels for older seniors or delivering food, water and aid to developing countries, volunteering is good for you – and for others too!

Written by Sheralyn Roman

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