Group of multigenerational volunteers picking up trash

Why Volunteers and Activists Love Living at Retirement Communities

Did you know more older adults than ever are becoming volunteers? That’s right! Senior volunteers have become a valuable part of America, and their efforts reach much further than you might think. 

However, despite the growing number of older adults ready to lend a helping hand, there are still more senior volunteer opportunities than ever. So if you’re looking for positive ways to spend your free time, learn why retirement is just the beginning of your best work.

Senior Volunteers Are Extraordinarily Valuable

According to a report by The Corporation for National and Community Service, more than 20.7 million adults ages 55 and over contribute more than 3.3 billion hours of service in their communities across the United States. This equates to an estimated economic value of $78 billion.

Along with having a positive impact on their community and the economy, senior activists are also improving themselves. Older adults who dedicate their time to helping others report an abundance of benefits that include decreased anxiety and depression, reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness, improved physical health, and higher life satisfaction.

Many older adults are also finding their voices with activism. For instance, many seniors are advocating for better health care and benefits for veterans, equal rights and improved foreign policies. 

So what are older adults doing when they dedicate their time to a greater cause? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top volunteer activities for adults 65 and older include faith-based opportunities, community service, youth service, and volunteering at hospitals or other health facilities. 

Senior Volunteer Opportunities Are Easy to Find with the Right Help

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states a good portion of older adults find volunteer opportunities through social connections. In fact, a study published by the Journal of Social Service Research found that older adults are more likely to volunteer when approached by friends or acquaintances instead of family members.

An article published by Urban Planning recognized that many seniors benefit from volunteering coordinators, who help volunteers overcome barriers with transportation and physical mobility. However, another study also noted the number of benefits received depends on how much the coordinator truly cares about the program and its senior volunteers.

At The Chesapeake, our team is dedicated to enriching the lifestyles of our residents. We provide many opportunities for senior activists to make a difference within our community and nearby locations like the Mariners’ Museum, Fine Arts Center, Virginia Air & Space Center, and Virginia Living Museum. 

Of course, you can always ask your friendly neighbors at our retirement community where and how they like to volunteer their time — and you might make a few new friends while you’re at it.

What Senior Volunteer Opportunities Are Right for Me?

Volunteering is a great way to connect with your community, but it’s important to find opportunities that match your skills and interests. Here are few tips on finding the right volunteer experience for your retirement:

Take stock of what you have to offer. Many volunteer organizations need people with specific skills. Skills can run the gamut from event planning to coaching, writing and accounting. The American Institute of CPAs (ACIPA) has several volunteer opportunities for retired adults, including becoming a member of the AICPA Foundation board of trustees. 

Follow your passions. Volunteer projects you’re not passionate about may quickly become boring. Look for projects that match your interests. For instance, nature lovers can volunteer to keep our national parks pristine, or those who love to knit or crochet can make blankets for Warm Up America!

Look for opportunities near and far. There are many ways to volunteer your time. Meals on Wheels helps older adults across America who face food insecurity, and The Red Cross will train volunteers to virtually help families affected by natural disasters. 

Consider being a mentor. There are children all over the U.S. who could use a great role model and mentor. Organizations like AARP Experience Corps match older adults with children who aren’t yet reading at their grade level. The Foster Grandparent Program through Senior Corps matches volunteers with local organizations that work with children, teens and young mothers. 

Be flexible. Many volunteer opportunities have fluctuating schedules and can require a lot of your time. Opportunities should add dimension and purpose to your life. If a volunteer project or program becomes overwhelming, it’s OK to find something that’s more relaxing and better suits your lifestyle. 

Pursue Your Passions and Find Freedom to Thrive at The Chesapeake

Our senior living community in Newport, VA, will empower you to explore new passions, dive deeper into lifelong interests, travel freely, make new friends, or just enjoy your newfound freedom. To learn how we help our residents shine inside and out, contact The Chesapeake online. We’d love to hear from you!