Seniors Reap the Benefits of Volunteering
In-home care providers help senior citizens continue living independently in their own homes, assisting them with the routine tasks of homemaking and personal care. And that frees up more time for seniors to do the things they enjoy. More seniors are directing their interests and talents to volunteer opportunities. They are discovering great fulfillment and purpose in helping others.
At the same time, they are helping themselves. According to a study presented May 2, 2009, at the American Geriatrics Society annual meeting in Chicago, retirees over 65 who volunteer are living to an older age compared to their peers who do not volunteer.
The study, conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, included 6,360 retirees who were enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study in 2002. The average age of the study subjects was 78.
Although that study did not examine the reasons for the health benefits of volunteering, other studies have. The Corporation for National and Community Service compiled findings of 30 such studies in a report, The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research. Among the findings:
Volunteers have better social networks as they get out and interact with others
Social engagement results in reduced stress
Volunteering leads to a more active lifestyle-both physically and mentally-which reduces risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and depression
An active lifestyle also helps boost the body’s immune system, protecting against infection and illness
Volunteering builds self-confidence, self-worth and self-identity and proves to seniors and others that they still have much to offer
More than 26 million senior citizens in the U.S. have already discovered the rewards of volunteering, from tutoring students to serving food in a soup kitchen, running a church rummage sale, recruiting donors for a blood drive or helping with a fund-raising campaign.
To read more about in-home care provider and volunteering, click HERE.