Don Kramer – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: Where can seniors volunteer?
A: Seniors have an incredible wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences to contribute to the community. Volunteering offers seniors the chance to engage with individuals of all ages, share their expertise and experience greater fulfillment after retirement. Let’s take a look at why seniors might want to volunteer, the benefits they can reap and some available volunteer opportunities.
- Social Engagement. Retirement often leads to reduced social interaction, which can affect mental health. Volunteering offers an opportunity to engage with others, make new friends and practice social skills.
- Sense of Purpose. Losing daily work routines can leave some seniors feeling aimless. Volunteering provides a clear sense of purpose with tangible contributions to society.
- Skill Development. Seniors often learn new skills or sharpen existing ones through volunteering, leading to personal growth and a sense of accomplishment.
- Mental & Physical Health. Engaging in meaningful activities improves both mental and physical health. Volunteering helps seniors maintain a positive outlook and stay active.
Reap the Benefits!
- Self-esteem. Volunteering brings a sense of achievement and satisfaction from helping others.
- A sense of belonging. Being part of a team and sharing common goals benefit our mental health.
- A longer, healthier life. Seniors who volunteer tend to live longer with better overall health than those who do not.
- Brain health. Learning new tasks and problem solving is mentally stimulating– for greater cognitive function.
- Mentoring & Tutoring. Seniors’ wealth of knowledge provides opportunities to share expertise at after-school programs, community centers, or as a mentor for young professionals.
- Community Services. Non-profits (and faith communities) need help! Consider the soup kitchen, the food banks and numerous events and fundraisers.
- Animal Shelters. Seniors with a heart for animals can find fulfillment helping our furry friends at shelters or rescues.
- Arts & Culture. A passion for the arts? Volunteer at local museums, libraries, theaters, or with favorite musical organizations.
- Senior Communities. Volunteer at an assisted living or memory care facility by visiting residents, helping with recreational events or sharing your expertise.
In addition to purely volunteer positions, “hybrid” options (like becoming a paid companion) provide seniors the same sense of satisfaction — with some additional income. Paid or gratis, activities that align with your passions, expertise and values will help you stay active, learn new skills and foster meaningful connections in the community. For more volunteering options, stop in to One Senior Place in Viera or Greater Orlando. But careful — we might put you to work!
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.