After the abundance of food, family and shopping that people enjoy during the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s become a welcome new tradition to give back on Giving Tuesday, and donations don’t have to come in the form of money or gifts of food, clothing or home goods. Seniors especially can find meaning and joy by volunteering the greatest gift we have to offer; our time.
Studies have shown that volunteering can help older adults avoid social isolation, which can lead to depression and gain a greater sense of belonging and purpose in life. When life has meaning, it is all the more joyful and helping others during the holidays and throughout the year just feels good. According to research by UnitedHealthCare and Volunteer Match, volunteerism promotes greater self-esteem, reduces stress, improves mood and helps individuals feel more in control over their own health and well-being.
Volunteering gives older adults a more positive attitude about their own life and fosters a greater sense of connection with their communities. And nearly everyone has some passion or skill they can share, at any age. Former President Jimmy Carter, 95, continues to help build homes through Habitat for Humanity, even after suffering a fall recently that resulted in stitches. He also happens to be the longest living U.S. president; perhaps it has something to do with the passion he and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, share about providing affordable housing to everyone.
Not sure where to get started? Check with your local community center, schools, places of worship or look for volunteer opportunities near you by following this link to Volunteer Match.