The Life in Bloom Blog

Why Senior Volunteers & Advocates Love Living at Retirement Communities

Healthy Aging | 08/16/21


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Got a passion for volunteering or advocacy? There’s nothing like being around like-minded people to fuel it in a big way. If you enjoy being a senior advocate or senior volunteer, a retirement community that celebrates giving back is a great place to call home.

New Jersey’s Meadow Lakes retirement community is a wonderful example of this. They’re committed to supporting senior advocates and senior volunteers through programs like their social justice group and scholarship committee. And they make it easy for residents to participate within the community by offering free transportation to volunteer activities.

 

What Seniors Gain by Giving Back 

As a senior, giving back and impacting change through voice and action is energizing on numerous levels, starting with feeling you’re still relevant and your contributions matter! Additionally, studies have proven that finding a retirement community with a culture oriented toward social action and volunteerism is good for the mind, soul, and general well-being.

According to research conducted by multiple outlets, volunteers live longer. Those who participate in senior volunteerism have lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, increased strength and energy, and fewer physical limitations than those who do not volunteer. Volunteers also reported fewer mobility problems and higher life satisfaction.

 

How and Where Senior Advocates and Senior Volunteers Can Help

Today, seniors make up almost 25% of the volunteer population, and if you include the 55-64 demographic, it’s more than 35%. According to the Corporation for National Community & Service, the most common forms of volunteering 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
  • Mentoring the youth
  • Collecting, making, or distributing clothing

 

11 Organizations that  Love Senior Volunteers

Senior Corps  Explore various ways to give back, from delivering groceries to the elderly to tutoring a struggling student or supporting families impacted by natural disaster.

National Park Service  Volunteer as a visitor center host, work on cleanup crews, help with administrative duties and much more.

Meals on Wheels  Drop off warm meals to those who need it, then  stick around for a little social time to make someone’s day.

Feeding America Volunteers are always needed to staff the program’s food banks, food pantries, and meal programs across the network.

Canine Companions for Independence Become a volunteer puppy raiser, breed caretaker, and more––all to help develop service dogs for people with disabilities.

Habitat for Humanity Help with a building project in your own community or travel to other cities and across the globe to do the same. Construction skills are not a requirement!

Volunteer Match for Seniors This clearinghouse for volunteers adds new opportunities daily, and you filter by community, interests, and more.

Schools on Wheels Receive online training to tutor students in a variety of courses, or help with fundraising, translation, graphic design, public speaking, and more.

Musicians on Call Love to play an instrument? This program delivers joy through music. It sends volunteer musicians to hospitals to perform in patients’ rooms and common spaces.

Elders Climate Action Join a movement of older adult volunteers committed to fighting global warming through raising their collective voice and urging for a change in energy policies that reduce greenhouse gasses.

AARP Experience Corps A great volunteering opportunity for those age 50 and older who want to dedicate their time to helping children improve their reading skills.

 

Other Senior Advocacy/Senior Volunteering Ideas to Explore

Assisting a Local Politician Whom You Support

Walking door to door is a physical activity that offers senior volunteers a great way to stay engaged in the political scene and be a voice for positive change in the community, or in local, state, and national elections. 

Helping Feed the Hungry or Run Local Food Drives

A wonderful community service for a great cause––helping to get food to the needy quickly and efficiently. 

Becoming A Mentor at a Community Youth Center

Youth centers are great places for senior volunteers to pass down knowledge to the younger generation, potentially steering kids in more positive educational and social directions.

Acting as a Docent or Tour Guide at Area Museums, Zoos,  etc. If you’re a people person with a special love for art, history, or animals, becoming a volunteer docent is a wonderful way to share your knowledge and engage with every age group.

Serving as an Animal Shelter Volunteer There’s always an overwhelming need for volunteers at animal shelters. Dogs and cats would love your help with bath time, walks outside, feeding, grooming–everything that helps them feel loved and safe.

 

Live in a Senior Living Community Dedicated to Giving Back

Residents of Meadow Lakes love where they live for many reasons. They relish the engaging, active lifestyle within the community, and also appreciate a culture that celebrates and supports volunteerism and advocacy. Our community offers a variety of ways to stay involved with important causes, including local volunteer opportunities and our Environmental Awareness & Appreciation group. Come discover our welcoming, vibrant community—we look forward to meeting you!