Volunteering, of course. Volunteering helps people of any age make friends, improve their health, and regain their sense of purpose. So, let’s get you inspired.
Volunteerism is a great way to meet people with similar values. They have time to donate and so do you. After working at the food bank, a bunch of the volunteers may go have a coffee or lunch. Working side by side with other people at the animal shelter, for example, is a great way to build friendships. Small talk is awkward at first, but the more you spend time with your fellow volunteers, your friendships will deepen.
“Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. Volunteering also strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.” Volunteer Rutherford
Volunteerism is great for your health. Not only does a bit of physical work help your activity levels (your doctor will be proud) but it helps with depression, purpose, and longevity! As social animals, we’re not meant to be so isolated, volunteerism helps break that down. Loneliness is a real health issue for older Americans. So, get out of your funk, and find some organizations that you believe in.
“An analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging found that individuals who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, even when controlling for age, gender and physical health.” Mayo Clinic
Donating time and working alongside others is a great way to remind yourself of your core values and your purpose. Once the kids are out of the house, your life as an older American can sometimes feel sad. Traveling is an excellent way to spend your free time, but that cost can add up -- quickly. So, how can you find a purpose that doesn’t cost money? Volunteering, of course.
“Joining a cause that you care about gives you a sense of purpose. It is also a great way to meet people who share your values.” Sixty and Me
Okay, so now you’re pumped up for volunteering. Where do you start? Live About suggests joining your local chamber of commerce or even a national program like Habitat for Humanity. Points of Light suggests volunteering for a political campaign. If you’ve been successful as a business owner, consider volunteering for SCORE as a business mentor. This will help you make friends, get perspective on your life, and give you a sense of purpose. Not only will you be helping a business owner, but you’ll be helping your whole community.
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