In the year 2015, people over the age of 65 consisted of 25% of the volunteer population; if you were to include people from the ages of 55-64, this number would increase by 10%, making up 35% of the volunteer population. This high amount of seniors contributing to volunteering in their communities is likely due to the age group being associated with a higher likelihood of being retired, and therefore having more free time than other age demographics. Despite this, the senior age group does not hold the highest percentage of those who volunteer. This could be due to a number of reasons, but that discussion is not the purpose of our blog post today.
Today, we are discussing why volunteering is especially beneficial for the senior population and how you can get involved in your local community.
1. Volunteering increases physical activity: For starters, volunteering keeps you active, especially when you may not have a super active lifestyle or schedule. Now you may be thinking, “Sure I need to be active, but I can’t do some of the things that are involved in volunteering.” This is an entirely appropriate response- we need to make sure we are staying within our physical limits. Fortunately, there are a wide range of volunteering opportunities suitable for all physical abilities, like collecting or serving food, fundraising money, tutoring, mentoring the youth, and collecting or making clothing.
2. It improves your mental health: Volunteering keeps your brain active by engaging in activities that have meaning and a positive impact. The National Institute on Aging says that this type of participation may lower the risk of dementia and other health problems in senior.
3. It helps prevent the feeling of isolation and depression: Research has found that individuals who engage in volunteering experience shorter courses of depression than those who do not engage in volunteering.
4. It fills up your time on your own schedule: During the pandemic, people have found that they have a lot more time on their hands than they realized. Volunteering gives you something to do to help fill up your time, and better yet, almost all organizations are flexible with when you volunteer, so you can make volunteering fit around your schedule.
Some local organizations in Omaha that are always looking for volunteers:
1. Siena Francis House
2. Nebraska Humane Society
3. Habitat for Humanity of Omaha
4. Wellbound: Wellbound is currently doing a food drive for the month of October! We are donating to 4 different food pantries around Omaha- all you have to do is come by while we are open and donate any type of nonperishable goods. Every donator will be entered into a raffle for prizes!
Thank you for your support in our community!