Thoughts on the benefits of volunteerism

Amy Riggins

Greetings Shawnee! I hope this finds you safe and healthy! Our state and community are slowly reopening, and we are hopeful things will go smoothly. Both the Senior Center and Community Center are still closed to the public. We will provide updates as to when we can safely reopen.

Meanwhile our staff is still working behind the scenes to plan future senior programming. The potential for program development over the next several years is vast. We are exploring various available resources. As we continue to make preparations, we recognize many opportunities for additional volunteers.

This week I’d like to share some insights into the benefits of volunteerism in general. Perhaps you currently serve as a volunteer in our community. Maybe you have thought about doing this, but are not sure if it is worth your time and effort. Retirement can present opportunities for you to do things you might not have considered in earlier years. Seniors possess valuable skills and knowledge to share in a volunteer capacity, and there are several potential benefits.

Volunteering helps provide a sense of purpose. As humans we tend to want to take action, and we enjoy relationships. If we are no longer working, we may feel we have lost a sense of who we are. Through being a volunteer, we can see how our actions help others and benefit society. Staying connected with an outside organization can also broaden our world view.

Volunteers can help bridge the generation gap. We all have something to share and learn from others. Seniors who serves as volunteers can work with other seniors or even younger generations to pass on knowledge and tips. We can also glean insights into recent developments and technological advancements if we spend time with individuals younger than ourselves.

Being a volunteer helps a person stay active and healthy.

By participating in regular volunteer activities, there is more routine and movement. Some volunteers find that it is easier to stay active if they are involved in being around others and offering assistance. Increasing our activity levels and social involvement are important to help promote longevity.

Volunteering is also beneficial for mental health. Just getting out of the house can provide a boost in one’s mood. By being active as a volunteer we can increase our brain activity, which stimulates memory and use of language. Social activities help our cognitive health and positive outlook.

Being a volunteer can keep us active in our community, church, or other organization. This helps prevent isolation or depression.

Studies have shown that participation in volunteer activities contributes to increased social wellness and higher life satisfaction scores.

Volunteering can be fun! Serving as a volunteer brings you into social situations which might provide fresh insights and new friends. You could have opportunities to explore your creative side and dabble in new adventures. Volunteering can be a journey to new horizons, as you never know what you might find!

Thanks for reading about a few benefits of volunteering. There are many opportunities for senior volunteers in our local community.

Stay tuned for more specific information on how to become a volunteer at one of our centers. Until then, be sure to listen to “Mike in the Morning” on Wednesday mornings at 8:35 found KGFF (1450 AM or 100.9 FM).

We look forward to seeing you at one of our Centers when we re-open!