Dedicating your time and energy to volunteering will certainly have a positive effect on communities in Buffalo, but it also has the power to enrich your life in significant ways. For older adults in senior living, volunteering is a way to connect with new people, pursue interests, and support overall health.
“Residents at Gates Circle have a treasure trove of wisdom and experience to share with charitable organizations in Erie County,” says Adam J Szymczak, Sales & Operations Director at Canterbury Woods. “We promote volunteering because it makes a difference in the broader community, and it also makes a difference in the overall health and happiness of residents.”
Today’s seniors are the most dynamic and active generation of retirees ever. So it’s likely you have plans to travel; socialize with family and friends; and continue learning, growing and contributing during your post-career years. After reading about the benefits of volunteering, you will likely want to carve out some time for this too.
Volunteering Gives Seniors a Sense of Purpose and Connection
Retirement can be quite a transition. While you surely enjoy the freedom, it’s common to also miss the sense of purpose your job provided you every day. For this reason, it can be healthy for older adults to stay connected to a larger mission like that of a nonprofit or charitable effort.
Whether you donate your time and talent to a homeless outreach center in downtown Buffalo, a food pantry, an after-school program or a community garden, efforts like these can increase your life satisfaction.
Volunteering offers you an opportunity to work toward a shared goal alongside people with similar values. Through activities like delivering meals to the hungry or providing child care to underserved populations, you can develop strong connections to both fellow volunteers and those you serve. In many volunteer scenarios, you might collaborate with younger folks and people with different backgrounds than you. These connections can be invigorating and keep you sharp.
Volunteering Offers a Boost to Seniors’ Physical and Mental Health
They say it’s better to give than to receive. While this sentiment resonates with most people, they don’t always realize there’s scientific evidence to support it. In fact, the positive effects of volunteering can result in improved physical and mental health.
The mental health benefits associated with seniors volunteering include:
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- “Helper’s high” that contributes to a more joyful life
- Deeper sense of gratitude
- Increased self-esteem
Older adults who volunteer also increase the chance of maintaining good physical health. In fact, volunteering is a preventive measure against certain health problems. In combination with other healthy lifestyle choices, you could actually decrease the chance of needing long-term care.
The physical health benefits associated with seniors volunteering include:
- Improved heart health
- Higher levels of cognitive functioning
- Improved mobility
- Lessened chronic pain
- Longer life expectancy
Volunteering Gives Seniors an Outlet to Pursue Interests and Skills
The skills you’ve developed over your lifetime are an asset to an organization needing volunteers. Consider how you could use your life experiences to further the mission of the following nonprofits in Buffalo, New York:
- Be an activity volunteer, office volunteer, or one-on-one friend at Compeer, which focuses on promoting “good mental health through meaningful friendships.”
- Support our Veterans with Soldiers’ Angels. Their motto is to ensure “no soldier goes unloved,” and there are various ways to contribute to this mission.
- Become a member of the Wellness Institute that seeks to “increase our community’s level of social, environmental, economic, and human capital.”
Volunteering also offers you the chance to pursue skills you find interesting. Perhaps you could learn construction by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Maybe you’d like to learn about historic preservation by getting involved in the effort to restore and protect Concordia Cemetery.
Whatever you choose, volunteering is a chance to put knowledge, education and skills toward a worthy cause while learning and growing from new experiences. If you need somewhere to start, contact Senior Corps, which specializes in matching seniors to volunteer opportunities that do just that!
Canterbury Woods Gates Circle. You’re Going To Love It Here.
At Canterbury Woods Gates Circle, our goal is simple: provide seniors with the best possible living experience. We’re a continuing care retirement community that invests in the quality of life of residents and encourages active adults in our senior living community to get involved in a volunteer program. Come visit our independent living community to see the rich and rewarding life that awaits you.