For older adults, the health benefits of volunteering are many

As a leader in senior living, you want your residents to have expansive, fulfilling lives. And perhaps you’ve been researching volunteer ideas for seniors to help them feel that connectivity to the greater good. If so, you’re on the right track. Numerous studies have proven that volunteerism has benefits that go far beyond helping those in need. In fact, for your senior living residents, it turns out the health benefits of volunteering are many. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits, and then explore some volunteer opportunities for your residents.

Health benefits of volunteering, from the inside, out

Studies show that seniors live longer, happier, healthier lives when they devote some of their time to volunteering. That’s according to studies of volunteers in the United States, who reported that they had higher levels of well-being when compared to their non-volunteering counterparts, and lower rates of disability. Analysts believe that seniors reap these health benefits because of the increased social, physical and mental activity they experience through volunteerism. The same studies indicated that volunteerism may be especially good for seniors who are experiencing stress or are likely to otherwise experience social isolation, a serious issue that affects many seniors. Even among seniors experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one, they can achieve great benefits through volunteerism, which has been shown to shorten their course of depression.

With the research clearly pointing to the myriad benefits of volunteerism, senior living providers have an opportunity to truly enrich the lives of their residents, while also building the communities they call home. Supporting resident volunteerism can begin by simply giving seniors the tools and space they need to forge connections with the organizations that would value their contributions.

Volunteer ideas for seniors

When you and your staff are ready to explore volunteer opportunities for senior citizens, you may be surprised to find an abundance of organizations eager to bring seniors on board. Here are just a few examples of ways you can connect your residents with volunteer opportunities:

  • Partner with local schools, YMCAs or Boys and Girls Clubs to get your seniors involved in intergenerational activities. Whether you can get your seniors to the students or students come to seniors, these intergenerational programs bring joy to residents and foster in youth a deeper understanding of the elderly. LeadingAge reported on one partnership in which seniors worked with at-risk students—providing caregiving to infants and toddlers and talking and playing cards with older children.
  • Your more talented residents could knit hats, scarves and mittens for charity. Many of them could also help make fleece blankets for charity or for cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy treatments.
  • Residents could spearhead a charitable drive for food, hygiene items or clothing. They also could gather care packages for troops serving overseas. Ask your veterans whether they would be willing share special notes about their time in service.

These form just a small sample of opportunities available, and virtually every community has organizations in need of senior volunteers. With some time and commitment, it’s possible for an organization to create a volunteer pipeline that strengthens your community, while improving quality of life for our senior citizens.

Building senior volunteer opportunities starts with building the right space

If you are considering starting a volunteer program for your senior residents or expanding on your current efforts to cultivate volunteer ideas for seniors, having the right multipurpose space is essential. By putting great architecture and design to work for you, you can create a place that helps seniors enrich their lives by playing an integral role in the community. Whether you’re looking to expand to allow for a crafting space, meeting rooms for volunteers, or perhaps a volunteer resource center, we can help you get there. Ready to learn more? Contact us or call (920) 969-9344 to schedule a free introductory meeting.