5 Ways Volunteering Is Beneficial for Older Adults

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Getting out of the home and engaging in positive activities may be just what seniors need to boost their quality of life. Instead of going back to work, your senior loved one should give volunteering a try, as it could alleviate boredom and boost his or her wellbeing during the retirement years. Here’s why seniors should add volunteering to their weekly schedules.

1. Prevents Depression

Depression may be common in older adults, but it’s not a normal part of the aging process. It can arise from loneliness and boredom as well as the inability to manage stress levels. Depression is a severe disorder that does more than cause feelings of sadness and anger. It can also negatively affect the way older adults live. For example, depressed seniors may experience difficulty sleeping, eating, and moving around. However, taking on activities such as volunteering can provide something interesting to do that prevents isolation and depression.

2. Encourages Physical Activity

Staying active in the senior years can reduce the risk of slips and falls and help older adults maintain independence. Encourage your loved one to participate in fun volunteering projects that provide physical activity. Depending on the organization or cause your loved one volunteers for, he or she might get plenty of exercise. For instance, if your parent decides to volunteer at an animal shelter, one of the duties might be to walk the dogs, play with the cats, and help other animals get exercise. Find volunteer opportunities that get your loved one up and moving. 

If you usually help your loved one get out and about but need a break now and then, consider having an in-home respite caregiver take over for you. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Rhode Island families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.

3. Teaches New Skills

Learning new things can stimulate the mind and keep the brain functioning regularly. As a result, the odds of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may decrease significantly. Although you shouldn’t sign your loved one up for a lot of volunteering work, getting him or her out of the home a few hours throughout the week to learn new things is the perfect way to promote brain cell growth and boost cognitive health.

4. Provides a Social Network

Maintaining relationships is vital to a senior’s wellbeing. A social network can provide your loved one with companionship, and he or she could also make new friends to help with daily tasks, which is great if he or she lives independently. Meeting new people can be challenging in the senior years, but activities such as volunteering make the process a little easier. By volunteering, your loved one can strengthen his or her social skills and learn how to branch out and meet new people.

Social isolation can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges for aging adults, but they don’t have to manage them alone. In Rhode Island, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

5. Increases Happiness

One of the greatest benefits of volunteering is the joy it can bring. Your parent may immediately feel happier after working with like-minded individuals for a great cause. Giving to others is a natural human impulse, so the more your loved one does to help others, the better he or she might feel. The pleasure seniors receive from volunteering can prevent negative emotions and strengthen their emotional wellbeing.

Volunteering can make a huge contribution to robust mental and physical health in seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Rhode Island families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If your senior loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979.