Senior Volunteerism Linked to Health Benefits.
Parsons House Austin, an assisted and independent living community, knows that community service can have substantial health benefits – especially for seniors.
The healthy benefits of volunteering for seniors includes social engagement, helping to keep our aging loved ones from the isolation that seems to come with growing older.
Engagement with a purpose can provide a focus that reduces stress, and with that reduce the risk of illness. The Corporation for National and Community Service reports in their study on senior volunteerism, that adults age 65 and older found the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health was due to “the personal sense of accomplishment that an individual gains from his or her volunteer activities.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics “Volunteering in the United States 2010” report, 23.6% of all seniors in the U.S. aged 65 and older volunteered at least once that year, while the majority logged 100 or more hours of service. Over 44% logged their volunteer hours at a religious institution while 16.8% volunteered at a community-based organization.
At Parsons House Austin, residents are highly engaged in volunteer activities. Throughout the year, residents knit hats for young patients at Seton Dell Children’s Hospital and deliver them during the holidays. These hats are also sent overseas to military men and women bravely serving our country. In addition, Parsons House residents log many volunteer hours with a number of local non-profit organizations including; Blue Santa, Capital Area Food Bank and Meals On Wheels.
Even in the Parsons House community residents feel purposeful by volunteering to roll napkins and silverware and run the Country Store. Through volunteering, these residents feel a great sense of purpose and connection to the greater Austin community.
Parsons House Austin also suggests the following opportunities to get your senior loved one involved in the community:
- Youth mentoring, tutoring or teaching through a local school or youth development program
- Volunteer as a docent at a local museum or be a greeter at another non-profit organization
- Collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food at a local foodbank
- Serve on the Board of Directors for a local nonprofit
- Offer a hand at your local place of worship
For seniors with mobility challenges, helping with nonprofit mailings or other office-based needs is another option, and often scheduled as a group activity so the social component is also a benefit.