Volunteerism among seniors is on the rise. A report released by the Administration on Aging noted that the number of volunteers age 65+ increased by 1.4 million people in a seven year span. There are many good reasons behind the jump. Older adults today are on average better off than those in the past. Their better financial standing and higher levels of education may be playing a role in their willingness to serve the community.
Volunteering doesn't just benefit those receiving help. There are clear links to the health benefits of volunteerism, particular among older adults. When they volunteer, older adults are shown to have a lower mortality rate, greater functional ability and less of a likelihood of physical or mental illness (such as depression).
Older adults who donate time to volunteering are able to remain productive and utilize their brains and bodies through physical activity, social interaction and problem solving.
I see it with the volunteers at Hebrew SeniorLife, who span a range of ages and have varying levels of physical ability. No matter how involved they may be, volunteering vastly improves their mood and, in some cases, their physical health. Volunteering gives a sense of purpose and accomplishment, two important facets of healthy living.