In the United States, volunteering is considered one of the highest forms of expressing humility. It is also known as the most common way for people to realize the happiness that they experience in life. This is especially true for seniors since volunteering has multiple benefits for the elder population. There are a multitude of organizations that dedicates it’s time to recruiting senior volunteers for different causes. For seniors who enjoy spending time with the youth, Foster Grandparent Program provides them with an opportunity to mentor young people. If a senior prefers adult interactions programs like Senior Companion Program, a program that focuses on providing senior volunteers to adults who need help with gaining their independence, provides them with that option. Organizations like Retired Seniors Volunteer Program offer seniors an opportunity to become a driving force in the betterment of their communities. All three organizations supply a chance for seniors to volunteer for a need in their community that is of greatest interest to them, turning their passion into happiness for their quality of life. Since helping others often increases people quality of life, it comes to no surprise that this is especially true for seniors.
Volunteering creates a multitude of health benefits for seniors. It promotes lower rates of mortality, improved physical functioning levels, and better self reported health. Studies also show that good health supports continued volunteering while bad health limits one’s ability to volunteer. Seniors who volunteer tend to have better mental health and have more social interaction within their community. According to SangNam Ahn, being active and social, which often occurs while volunteering, improves health. The amount of time an elder woman volunteers increases with better levels of physical and mental health and the number of visits to a healthcare professional.
Seniors who volunteer acquire more social benefits than seniors who do not volunteer. By volunteering, seniors are able to build relationships with the people in the organization they volunteer with and people the organization impacts. Building friendships also becomes easier for seniors who volunteer because of the significant amount of time that is spent socializing with others while volunteering, which increases the likelihood of friendships forming. Socializing with the beneficiaries of the volunteering provides volunteers with the opportunity to witness the results of their acts of selflessness which can result in a more positive outlook on life for the volunteers.
Volunteering with different age groups provides great social benefits for the elder population. Volunteering with children makes it possible for elders to feel younger because of children’s high energy levels, positive outlook on life, and eagerness to learn. The high energy level that most children possess can have a positive effect on the energy level of the older adult that is helping them. A child’s positive outlook on life, due to their naiveté towards the harsh realities of life, can provide the volunteering elder population, who are aware of the harsh realities of life, with an outlet to the mentality of a child. By volunteering with adolescents, seniors are able to provide advice to them about the great times they experienced while they were in their adolescents. When seniors volunteer with other seniors they are able to build social relationships with their peers through networking and the ability to relate to each other.
The volunteering elder population is spending more time socializing with people who share passion for the same causes, whether it be guiding the youth, assisting adults with their everyday lives, or improving their communities. Elders who volunteer have a more fulfilling life than elders who do not volunteer. Not only are senior volunteers improving their health while volunteering, they are also providing their time and care to the people and places that are often overlooked in the United States.