Make a Difference by Volunteering

Volunteering once you have retired is a wonderful way to maintain a social circle, put your hobbies and skills to good use and live a contented life. There are many volunteering opportunities for you to get involved.

How Volunteering Can Benefit You

While volunteering is a great opportunity to give back to the community and make a difference, it also has plenty of benefits for the volunteer. Here are some of the benefits:

1. It’s Good for Your Physical Health

Do you find yourself forgetting things or struggling to communicate after so long alone at home? Putting pen to paper and detailing your daily/weekly/monthly activities can help. So why not sharpen your pencil, sharpen your mind, and sharpen your communication skills?

2. Great Learning Opportunities

An important aspect of living a healthy retirement life is staying physically fit. Whether it is by scheduling time for your workouts, heading to the gym, or playing a sport. Volunteering is another way to keep fit and physically active. Whether it is teaching kids, volunteering as a companion in your community or neighbourhood, coaching the local sports team or other activities – they are great ways to keep your body moving.

However, remember that if physical fitness is your primary goal, then don’t volunteer for a desk-bound role. If you find it difficult to dedicate time to your fitness schedule, volunteering is a good way to go about physical fitness.

3. Makes you Self-Confident

After many years of working, the post-retirement phase can sometimes feel purposeless for many seniors and older adults. If the timing coincides with your kids leaving home, then it can be a double blow to your sense of purpose and self-confidence. Some people describe it as a ‘hole’ in their lives.

Volunteering can fill the void and help older adults find new meaning in their lives. When you help others, you instantly feel a sense of inner happiness and contentment. In the pursuit of helping others, you tend to forget about your own problems or gain new perspectives about them. In a way, volunteering makes you more confident about yourself.

4. Building Your Social Circle

A great way to build your social circle and reinforce existing friendships and relationships is to volunteer. If you have moved to a new area or city post-retirement, volunteering can help you meet people in the community and make friends. Being social has multiple benefits and volunteering can facilitate this! So, get out there and find your tribe!

5. Keep Mental Health Issues at Bay

Many seniors tend to slip into a zone of loneliness and depression post-retirement for lack of activities to do. The sudden change in the life of seniors like children moving out, retirement, ageing, etc., can make them susceptible to mental health illnesses.

Volunteering is a good way to keep these diseases away as it keeps your mind active and boosts your cognitive health too. It has been proven by research that involving yourself in activities that are meaningful and productive can reduce the risk of dementia and other mental health illnesses.

6. Opportunity to Learn New Skills

You can participate in volunteering activities that allow you to use your existing skills or learn new ones. Either way– volunteering is a great learning experience no matter your age! Keeping an open mind and believing that it is never too late to learn can expose you to new skills. This boosts your cognition, keeps your mind active and fills your life with excitement.

Types of Volunteering Jobs Available

There are a wide range of volunteering options to choose from. For instance:
  • Coaching a sports team in your community
  • Adopt a family in need
  • Participate in the NGOs you have always wanted to help.
  • Work for the homeless and poor
  • Volunteer in wildlife conservation.
  • Work for public health awareness
  • Volunteer for programmes involving marine life conservation.
  • Look for volunteering opportunities that involve art and culture
  • Corporate volunteering opportunities
  • Online volunteering
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Volunteer at your church or other religious organisation
  • Tourism volunteering

The Takeaway

Volunteering can be very fulfilling and gratifying, however, always look out for volunteering opportunities that fit into the rest of your schedule and are not excessively tiring either.

Volunteering is a good way to spend your day, learn something new, meet new people, and build a social circle around you. As they say – “A life lived for others is truly worth living.” – Albert Einstein

Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide

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