Volunteering to serve others is rewarding at any age, but senior volunteering is that unique gift that benefits both the giver and the receiver. In fact, experts agree active adults who participate in retired senior volunteer programs enhance their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Research results confirm:
- Reduced risk of social isolation
- Affirmation of self-worth
- Increased physical activity
- New opportunities for learning and growth
- Improved mental health
How Do You Want to Spend Your Time?
Senior volunteering is about sharing your gifts and talents with others in a way that makes you feel productive and involved. So, the first order of business is deciding what type of volunteering appeals to you. Think about your particular interests. Do you want to show off your craftiness, mentor kids, or spend time in a medical setting? How much time do you want to commit?
Do Your Homework
Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, it’s important to carefully vet any potential organizations. To avoid unethical and unhealthy situations:
- Never sign up for anything that poses a potential risk to your health.
- Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, or completely above board, look elsewhere.
- Avoid a concern that is looking for volunteers to “work tirelessly.” Chances are they are looking for free labor.
- If you prefer a non-profit, make sure the charity is in good standing.
- Research the organization’s mission statement to ensure it supports your beliefs and goals.
- Check out reviews of the organization to see how its employees and the surrounding community feel about it.
When embarking upon a new senior volunteering opportunity, it may be helpful to spend some time on one of these charity watchdog sites:
Find Local Chapters of National Charities
One of these national charities may champion a cause near and dear to your heart. Chances are a local branch in your own backyard is just waiting for you to volunteer your services.AmeriCorps Seniors
Open to 55+ adults, AmeriCorps Seniors Corps opportunities range from providing companionship for older adults at home to mentoring students in a classroom setting. Their roster includes options with varying requirements and time commitments.
Habitat for Humanity
Volunteer at your local branch of Habitat for Humanity and create positive change in your community.
Locate a food bank in your neighborhood and get involved administratively or on the ground at food drives.
The Alzheimer’s Association
This association offers a wide variety of senior volunteer opportunities. Its many local chapters organize walks, promote education, and campaign for increased awareness and action.
Meals on Wheels
When it comes to retired senior volunteer programs, Meals on Wheels checks all the boxes. Become part of an army of more than 2 million volunteers to deliver meals to those in need. What could be more rewarding than seniors helping seniors.
Local, State and National Parks
If you love the outdoors, the US park service is looking for you. Though some senior volunteer positions require specific experience, there are many opportunities for folks who care about the environment. Whether you want to join the maintenance crew to eliminate invasive plants or participate as tour guides and campground hosts, the Park Service would love to have you for a day, or on a regular basis.
Animal lovers, look no further than the Humane Society of America for volunteer opportunities galore. Contact your local animal shelter to provide direct care or companionship to animals, or man the phones to promote pro-animal legislation. Maybe you will find a new four-legged friend in the process.
Your local community garden would welcome your green thumb. If gardening is your passion, your expertise would be most welcome.
Volunteer with Friends
What could be more fun than volunteering with friends? Join one of Overture’s premier active adult communities and you’ll find enthusiastic peers who share your desire to give back. Forget the retirement rocking chair. Retirement at Overture is about fulfillment, friends, and most of all, fun.