September 3rd, 2019
Even though there are millions of people 65 and older who volunteer every year, the number is just a fraction of the more than 52 million seniors in the U.S. And with the senior population expected to reach 80 million by 2050, it would be an understatement to say America’s elderly are still somewhat of an untapped (and valuable) resource.
Interesting statistic: Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) are the most likely to volunteer, at a rate of 28.9 percent. Followed next by (insert drum roll here) … Baby Boomers, at 25.7 percent. And which generation is quickly approaching senior status? The Boomers! Which could be a good sign for the future of senior volunteerism.
Like Maya Angelou once said, “As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.” And studies actually show that you can do yourself some good by helping others.
Health Benefits of Volunteering
Not only can the impact of volunteerism be felt in communities of all shapes and sizes, it can also be felt in people of all shapes, sizes – and age. Volunteerism’s best-kept secret is that it’s good for mental and physical health, too!
By volunteering you can:
*Boost Your Self Esteem
Meeting and making new friends in the community not only increases trust, but that social safety net you establish could come in handy during trying times.
*Give Purpose to Your Life
When you do good for others it not only makes you feel less isolated, it actually makes you feel good! Which could also help to delay memory loss and dementia.
*Learn New Skills
By exploring new interests you can pick up helpful new skills, broadening your horizons while helping those in need at the same time!
*Set a Good Example
If you’re able to volunteer as a family – or even if you can’t – you can help the younger generation to see just how beneficial community volunteering can really be.
Popular Ways to Volunteer
According to the Corporation for National Community & Service, there are many forms of volunteering, so you just need to choose one (or more) that best coincide with your interests and restrictions. The most common forms are:
*Collecting, serving, preparing, or distributing food
*Fundraising or selling items to raise money
*Engaging in general labor, like helping build homes or clean up parks
*Tutoring or teaching
*Collecting, making, or distributing clothing
Fun Places to Volunteer
Remember, if you’re a senior and you still have the itch to contribute your time and energy to a good cause, you shouldn’t let your age stop you. There are plenty of fun ways you can volunteer on the local or regional level, and thereby contribute your skills and talents in ways that will be greatly appreciated.
Nonprofits are an ideal place to start. Among some of the best options are:
*National Parks – history buffs and naturalists welcome, but a sense of adventure is all that’s really needed.
*Food Pantries – for those with organizational, copyediting, data entry, or even cooking skills.
*Local Libraries – perfect for book lovers, with needs ranging from shelving to event help.
*Art Museums – the artistically-inclined can help with tours, family programs & children’s activities.
*Political Campaigns – the politically-passionate can definitely feel like they’re making a difference here.
*Habitat for Humanity – construction skills needed, or you can pick up some new building skills.
There are plentiful opportunities for Lancaster County residents to stay local when they volunteer. Organizations ranging from Boy Scouts of America and Brethren Village to President James Buchanan’s Wheatland and Water Street Ministries welcome volunteers of multiple ages and skill sets. For a complete list of Lancaster PA Volunteer Opportunities, visit https://lancasterpa.com/volunteer/.