After making the decision to retire, some seniors choose to find their sense of purpose through volunteering. Seniors are an important part of the volunteer pool in Canada. Whether volunteering with other members of the community or rescue animals, there are a variety of benefits to volunteering in retirement. Continue reading to learn more about the complicated decision to retire, along with the benefits of volunteering for seniors.
After high schoolers, seniors make up the largest group of volunteers in Canada.
The Complex and Personal Decision to Retire
Choosing whether or not to retire at 65 is a deeply personal choice. For some, the choice feels easy: they’re ready and excited to retire, and they do so right at 65. For others, they might want to keep working for the socialization and fulfillment that it provides. Others might need to keep working due to their financial situation. No matter which way you look at it, retiring is a very personal choice with a variety of factors like job fulfillment, financial stability, and mental capabilities.
The Benefits of Volunteering for Seniors
For some retired seniors, making the choice to volunteer instead of continuing to work is a decision to exchange their time for value instead of money. Even though money is absent when volunteering, it provides many benefits outside of the financial realm. Let’s explore the variety of benefits seniors can experience when volunteering in retirement.
Loneliness and feeling isolated is one of the biggest hurdles seniors face. We saw this issue amplified even more after the pandemic, and finding ways to reconnect with one another is now more important than ever. One of the most appreciated benefits of volunteering for seniors is that it helps keep loneliness at bay.
Volunteering prevents isolation by offering an opportunity for seniors to socialize with other people of varying ages and backgrounds. Collaborating with other volunteers means you’ll have a chance to connect with people from other generations, and that cross-generational bond is so important for all parties involved.
Volunteer opportunities are also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Similar to how our jobs and office spaces are one of the ways we used to make friends before retirement, volunteer opportunities are a great way for seniors to continue meeting new people. Hopefully you’ll make friends with your fellow volunteers and want to spend time with them outside of volunteering!
A Sense of Purpose
One of the biggest benefits to volunteering in retirement is feeling that sense of purpose again. Our sense of purpose can sometimes feel more elusive in retirement, which is why volunteering can be such an important activity for seniors. Finding volunteer opportunities that give seniors a sense of purpose is a wonderful opportunity to find that spark again that makes you excited to get up in the morning.
In addition to helping seniors feel a sense of purpose, volunteering in retirement can also inspire seniors to achieve the other goals they’ve set for themselves. After achieving this goal of volunteering and feeling that spark of inspiration and purpose again, it can create that motivation for seniors to go out and fulfill their goals in other areas of their lives.
Another benefit of volunteering is providing another way for seniors to exercise their brains and stay mentally active. Depending on the type of volunteer role you’re taking on, it requires you to use your brain in ways that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise be doing if you were staying at home. Staying mentally active helps support seniors’ overall mental health and happiness and will help them stay mentally sharp in retirement.
Increased Physical Activity
Staying active in retirement can be difficult since you’re not commuting to an office every day and engaging in the daily physical activity that jobs entail. This makes volunteering a great way for seniors to increase their physical activity and maintain their overall physical health. From walking rescue dogs to helping clean up local parks, there are a variety of physical activities to choose from that each offer their own degree of activity.
Whether you’re engaging in a volunteer activity that is more physically active or even one that’s more sedentary, the act of volunteering still increases physical activity. It requires commuting to the place, moving around the space, and commuting back home. Even the smallest amount of physical activity is still an increase from the alternative of sitting at home.
Finding Community at Hopehill
In addition to finding volunteer opportunities that make seniors feel fulfilled, socially connected, and mentally sharp, residing in a healthy and safe community can also help seniors maintain mental health in retirement. It is our mission at Hopehill to provide affordable housing for seniors in a caring, safe, and healthy environment. Learn more about the community we create at Hopehill here.