After working for decades, retirement can seem like a shock.
At first it sounds fun to sleep in and go for leisurely lunches, but in time that wears thin. As we go about making non-work-related friends, retirees often join lots of common-interest clubs. In time that can seem like a job in and of itself—especially if the President of the Club is a little wacky or judgmental.
Then there’s the volunteering option…which technically is a job, but unlike a lot of jobs, it usually feels good to do. And that’s just one of…
The Many Benefits of Volunteering in Retirement
And by the way, this stuff is not speculation. There is new research showing volunteering can be a first-class ticket to increased cognitive skills, better health, and a sense of purpose and well-being.
That’s the wellness trifecta if you’re a senior. The only thing missing from the list is social activity…and of course, volunteering provides that in spades too!
Let’s break it down:
Mental Benefits of Volunteering
The human mind is a mysterious place. People who donate money feel wealthier, although just the opposite is true. People who give of their time and effort feel more capable, confident and useful—which, in fact, they are. Since they can accomplish one thing, they feel they will easily accomplish tasks in the future. This state of mind adds to our feelings of well-being, independence, and worth.
With this in mind, it goes without saying that volunteering helps prevent isolation and depression. It’s hard to achieve a lasting state of happiness without a sense of purpose, and it’s hard to achieve a sense of purpose watching TV.
Physical Benefits of Volunteering
Then, there is the physical activity involved. Some days you wake up and just feel like staying in bed.
That’s a bad feeling that can be alleviated by putting both feet on the floor and going out to help someone.
Whether you are a ‘Pink Lady’ at the hospital or you find your ‘zen’ gathering supplies for the food bank, you increase your possibility of getting in the right number of ‘steps’ as you go about a useful task. A fun adjunct to volunteering can be using your pedometer to gauge your activity as you go about your good deeds.
Social Benefits of Volunteering
One of the brightest parts of volunteering is coming in contact with a variety of people—some of whom are much younger. By interacting with younger generations, 60+ folks are able to share important life lessons.
On the flip side, younger generations are able to teach seniors new ways of looking at things that sometimes we really don’t understand—whether we admit it or not. (I can’t tell you how many shortcuts younger people have taught me when using computer applications and phones that are a whole lot smarter than I am.)
It all comes together when you get into volunteering. You can stay sharp, fit, social, and happy–all while doing good for others! A better deal is hard to find.
Where to Start? (Hint: Right here)
Probably more seniors would volunteer, but a problem is knowing where to start. We at Rincon del Rio have relationships with many organizations in California’s beautiful Gold Country that value, validate, and treasure their volunteers.
We can help you look for opportunities that fit into your schedule and include worthwhile activities that you’re passionate about. Just get in touch if you’re interested!
Here are some ideas you might want to consider:
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