In 1974, President Richard Nixon declared a “National Volunteer Week” in April, and ever since organizations nationwide have celebrated volunteerism all month long as part of National Volunteer Month. Whether it’s one day or a lifetime of commitment, there is no short supply of ways you can give back to your community. When it comes to donating your time and energy, no effort is too small.
Want to make a difference, but not sure where to start? Read our eight tips on how to find the best volunteer opportunity for YOU.
Writer Joan Halperin has lived at Orchard Cove for the past thirteen years. Originally from New York City, she relocated to New England to be closer to her daughter and son. She chose Hebrew SeniorLife’s Orchard Cove senior living community in Canton, MA as her new home due to its welcoming atmosphere and the fact that it was already home to many visual artists and writers with similar interests.
Today Esther is a published author and poet as well as a scholar of Judaism and Hebrew teacher at Orchard Cove in Canton, MA. Her experiences living in the community have inspired her to become a prolific poet. She participates fully in community spiritual life and is an avid reader of history and biography. Her warmth, vitality and intelligence shine through with other residents.
The biggest applause of this year’s Hebrew SeniorLife EngAGE event came not for the Emmy or Grammy Award winners but for the woman whose YouTube videos went viral and made her a celebrity at age 76. It was only appropriate for an event with the goal of redefining how we think and talk about aging.
While many may perceive senior living communities as places where older people go to put their feet up and watch the world go by, Hebrew SeniorLife believes that seniors have far more potential to accomplish exciting things in their later years. The residents of Hebrew SeniorLife communities are people who are learning, growing and achieving full, healthy and vibrant lives. One major reason for this is Vitalize360 TM, an award-winning, innovative, centered wellness coaching and assessment system that originated at Orchard Cove in 2003.
At a time when people 65 and older are one of the fastest-growing groups online and social media use among seniors is exploding, many older adults are embracing technology and incorporating it into their busy lives.
One prime example of the growing connection between seniors and technology occurs right here on the NewBridge on the Charles campus. When a resident of NewBridge on the Charles rises in the morning, there’s one place they can go to get their news, plan their daily activities, or make dining reservations, all from the comfort of home.
In 2014 three million (9%) U.S. households with seniors age 65 and older experienced food insecurity; 1.2 million that live alone also experienced food insecurity, according to the non-profit organization Feeding America. Poverty and food insecurity has been increasing in Massachusetts affecting more seniors than ever before. An estimated 20 percent of Massachusetts residents who suffer from food insecurity are seniors. And of course food insecure seniors are at an increased risk for chronic health conditions.
Many seniors want to continue to live a life of purpose in retirement and have turned to volunteering to satisfy that desire. The medical community recognizes the benefits of charitable work to enhance the physical, spiritual, and mental stimulation of older adults. The National Institute on Aging suggests that volunteering prevents isolation and can have a healthy effect on one’s cognitive behavior and potentially even thwart the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (“Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and What Do We Know? Is Keeping Your Brain Active Important?” Oct. 8 2015, National Institute on Aging).