Although many of us liked the idea of volunteering earlier in our lives, it may have been challenging to find the time to volunteer while working and raising a family. Retirees no longer have these obstacles. Volunteering is a win-win situation. You give, and you receive. You share your time, experience and care with the world, and in return, you get a feeling of accomplishment, appreciation, and renewed self-esteem.
Additional reasons that seniors should volunteer their time:
- Knowledge transfer. You have accumulated a wealth of knowledge during your career. Are you a tax expert? Help someone with their income tax return. Are you fluent in another language? Tutor a child from a needy family in that language.
- Remain mentally active. Research shows that the best way to retain your memory is to keep it active. Doing puzzles and taking classes are great ways to do this, but teaching a class to your community, in your field of expertise or a recently-found hobby, can have the same effect of maintaining mental alertness.
- Stay socially active and combat loneliness. Volunteer, and you will find yourself surrounded by others who have the same interests as you (whether you volunteer at a pet shelter or a soup kitchen, or any other organization).
- Volunteering is good for your health. Focusing on someone other than yourself reduces stress levels and strengthens your immune system.
There are lots of terrific volunteering experiences, all you have to do is search for them, based on your interests and background. Retirees who live in independent living communities in the San Antonio area may want to consider some of the following opportunities:
- New Century Hospice – Patient companionship. Read to patients, play games, swap life stories.
- Trinity Hospice – Looking for compassionate people to sit with patients, watch tv with them, color, and read to them.
- Kindred Hospice – Looking for certified pet therapy animals to visit hospice patients.
- Kindred Hospice is also looking for administrative help – some of the responsibilities are answering phones, scanning, copying, and greeting family members.
- Hospice Compassus has a “Seniors for Seniors” program – many hospice patients feel more comfortable interacting with people in their age group.
- Help families devastated by hurricanes and floods. Many people lost their homes and all their material goods. Volunteer at a fund-raiser to give hurricane victims a home again.
Finally, volunteer because you can. ‘To whom much is given, of him shall much be required.’ — Luke 12:48.