By now, you’ve made New Year’s resolutions—or broken them—promising to be a better person. You’ll workout more and eat a more balance diet. Why not consider resolving to give of your time and talents. You’ll be assisting others while helping yourself to better health.
Research shows that in addition to volunteers providing a wealth of manpower to nonprofits and other organizations, those delivering these services also reap a host of health benefits. Volunteers report reduced stress, anger and anxiety. Studies also show that those who give back have a lower mortality than those who do not. Older volunteers, especially, are less likely to develop high blood pressure and were found to have a more positive outlook on life.
Below are a few ways you can give back throughout the year:
Share Your Expertise
Were you a former chairman or an accountant? Why not share your breadth of knowledge with entrepreneurs as they try to avoid the pitfalls of small business ownership? Organizations such as SCORE provide confidential business mentoring services and host workshops to help small business owners achieve success. Retired executives and CEOs are always welcomed.
Become a Foster Grandparent
With families living further apart than previous generations, it’s not unusual for young adults to see their grandparents infrequently. Becoming a foster grandparent can be a rewarding experience for young and old alike. Inter-generational activities help bridge the gap between older adults and teenagers and shatter misconceptions about aging.
Tap into Your Hobbies
Seniors who enjoy knitting or crocheting will find their crafts can be enjoyed by more than just family and friends. From hospitals to oncology departments, there are many organizations that can make use of baby hats and lap blankets. There are even charities that will accept leftover crafting supplies such as yarn and fabric.
Support a Cause
Post-retirement is the perfect time to champion a cause which may be near and dear to one’s heart. Homelessness, education, women’s equality and accessibility to health care are just a few of the areas in which older adults can lend their voice. A simple internet search will be able to locate a charity that addresses each respective issue. From making telephone calls to writing letters of support, there is a task for everyone looking to get involved.
Look Around – Opportunities Abound
Cuddling a premature baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), walking a dog at an animal shelter or greeting guests at a museum are just a few of the numerous tasks performed by volunteers across the country. Organizations such as Senior Corps and AARP are wonderful resources for matching older adults’ talents and interests with noteworthy charities in need of assistance.
You’re never too old to make a difference in the lives of others. This year and beyond, consider supporting the organizations which work towards causes you find meaningful. It will give you a sense of purpose and you’ll be able to reap the wonderful benefits of volunteering. Begin today to help make the world a better place!