Volunteer Worker Tidying Male Patient's Hospital Room

Senior Volunteers Wanted

Reasons That a Senior Should Consider Volunteering

A retired senior should consider volunteering to gain mutually-rewarding experiences. There is the proven satisfaction of contributing to someone else's well-being while deriving the physical and mental stimulation and social contacts thought by medical authorities to enrich life and prevent or defer physical or mental ills.

For the employed senior, volunteering has the additional benefit of building a bridge to retirement by testing whether this type of activity will be psychologically rewarding after one's work life has concluded. The choice of volunteer assignments will depend in part on whether the senior wishes to keep a hand in his or her profession or business.
Volunteering with a non-profit like an association or society in one's field can help the senior keep current and remain qualified for consulting or other part-time work. Those who want a complete break with the working past can choose from a wide variety of opportunities to help others while learning something new about the activity or the people involved.

Seniors who have been through medical crises of their own or that of a family member may be particularly suited for helping in a hospital. Their calm and compassionate demeanor while pushing wheelchairs or making bedside visits can be very uplifting in someone's darkest hours and produce a special satisfaction for the giver. By contrast, a senior with an interest in theater or music can volunteer with a nonprofit group and gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of artistic works.

Many who volunteer in schools or with youth organizations report the special reward of having contributed at a crucial time to a better life for a young person. This is one of the prime areas where seniors fulfill an obligation they feel to "give back," especially if they have benefited in their own lives from a "hand up."

The last reason to consider is more negative and selfish. Volunteering will keep you from going "stir crazy" when you've lost many of your normal social contacts. But whatever the motivation, you'll be better for it.