by VNA of the Treasure Coast
Volunteering doesn’t just serve as a benefit to the community, it can also serve as a benefit to your health. Studies have shown that seniors who volunteer regularly increase their mental and physical health by socializing with other seniors, fulfilling a sense of worth within their community and remaining active and agile.
Volunteering can help increase the mental health of seniors by encouraging social interaction. When a person retires, their social circle can become smaller. Not having a workplace to interact with others can create an environment of isolation and separation, and sometimes seniors who live alone can go a day or two without any human interaction. A feeling of isolation can lead to mental health illnesses such as depression. Volunteering can negate these feelings and foster an environment of connectivity and self-worth. It will allow for seniors to interact with others close to their age and with similar interests. Volunteering will create a community and support system for seniors even if they volunteer just a few hours a month.
Volunteering also fulfills a sense of worth, which promotes mental health. Donating time to help others leaves a person with a sense of accomplishment. Seniors who have spent decades in the workplace can feel unaccomplished and lose self-esteem after retiring from their job. In a recent study, 92 percent of people agreed that volunteering enriches their lives and gives them a sense of purpose.
In addition to the mental health benefits, volunteering also improves physical health and is a great way to remain active. As we age, mobility and agility decrease and we can become sedentary. Regardless if you are volunteering in a retail shop, office, park or at the beach, volunteering can give seniors the opportunity to spend time moving. Being active helps fight off many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke, and it can help manage symptoms for chronic illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF). Before volunteering, make sure to know your physical limits if you do suffer from any ailments. Understand the physical requirements of the job before donating your time because many volunteer positions may require the lifting of heavy objects or standing on your feet for hours at a time. Consult your physician about the limits of your physical activity.
VNA provides compassionate, innovative care of the highest quality, setting the standard for patients and caregivers needing home health, hospice, and community health services.