Finding Places for Seniors to Volunteer
Everyone dreams of retiring and having endless days to do whatever they want, but that often changes once it comes time to retire. Whether you dreamed of sleeping in until noon and gardening every day or going on various vacations, for some, there seems to be too much time and not enough to do. Many seniors often feel a sense of sadness during the transition from working full time to retiring, and they still crave that work-life balance. There are many things people can do to beat those retirement blues – one of which is to find places for seniors to volunteer. Not only will volunteering give retirees something to do, but it also can give them a sense of purpose that they may have lost.
Benefits of Volunteering
There are many benefits of volunteering, no matter how old you are. For example, volunteers are developing new skills that they may have never learned otherwise. They’re staying active and keeping their body healthier by moving around and being social. Volunteering also makes people feel good. Getting involved with something that you love to do improves your mood. Some studies even show that people who volunteer tend to be more productive or have more time for other things in their lives, because they’re staying on the move. Those who choose to sit around and be lazy get less done overall.
Things to Consider Before Volunteering
The key to having a successful volunteering experience is to make sure you pick something you are going to like doing. The thing about volunteering is that you’re not getting paid for it, so it’s a little different than going to work every day. If you’re going to work for free, you want to make sure you’re getting paid in passion and love. When selecting places for seniors to volunteer, consider what drives you and what skills you have. If you have volunteered or donated previously, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I provide money, food, or clothing?
- Did I volunteer my time to give an organization advice or a professional service based on my personal skills or education?
- Did I offer my services in the form of physical labor?
Asking yourself these questions can help you decide on a place to volunteer that won’t quickly burn you out. You don’t want to get involved with an organization that creates stress or strains you too much physically or emotionally.
Suggested Places for Seniors to Volunteer
Now that you have an idea of what services you might want to provide; the next question becomes where to do it. Are you worried about the homeless population? Do you love to rescue animals? Are you compassionate towards veterans? What about sick or vulnerable populations? You could always see how you can be of help to the local hospital or nursing home. Here are some suggested places for seniors to volunteer!
If you’re someone who likes animals more than people, consider volunteering somewhere like an animal shelter or with a larger organization like the Humane League.
Calling all activists! If you’re passionate about politics, consider volunteering for a political organization where they always need people to hit the streets with surveys or petitions.
Do you have a soft spot for children? There are lots of organizations out there that strive to help children, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. You could offer your services to them, as they are the future leaders of your community.
Veterans are an often-overlooked population, but there are lots of organizations out there that aim to help them. For example, the Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service Program of the Military Order of the Purple Heart supports wounded veterans and others who are receiving care from the VA medical care system.
People in Poverty
There are many national organizations you could get involved in that most likely have local chapters near you. Consider places like Habitat for Humanity or local organizations that help with hunger relief or domestic abuse victims.
The last thing to consider when selecting places to volunteer for seniors is the credibility of the organization. You want to make sure you’re not giving money or time to a scam organization, so make sure you check out each charity before volunteering your time or money.
Have you volunteered before? What experiences have you had or what organizations do you recommend?