The Corporation for National and Community Service says that 18.7 million older adults are currently volunteering their time and collectively gave three billion hours of service between 2008 and 2010. Is your parent one of those 18.7 million? If not, you may want to encourage them to get involved because it may just improve their health!
Health Benefits of Volunteering
Besides giving your parent something to do other than sit around the house, volunteering has many benefits for better health. Some of the benefits are:
- Living Longer: Research has shown that older adults who volunteer live longer than those who do not.
- Lower Rate of Disability: People who volunteer report that less disability and a feeling of overall well-being.
- Better Emotional Health: Older adults are at a lower risk of becoming socially isolated when they volunteer, which is good for emotional health. One study showed that older adults who have lost someone are depressed for a shorter period of time when they volunteer than those who do not volunteer. In one research study, senior participants reported having a sense of purpose and a feeling that their life was better for having volunteered.
- More Physically Active: Volunteering keeps older adults more physically active, which leads to overall better health.
One of the great things about volunteering is that there are opportunities for nearly everyone, regardless of their physical abilities. There are volunteer opportunities available for seniors who are still spry and physically active and there are volunteer opportunities for seniors who are confined to a wheelchair. You and your parent’s elderly care provider can help them find and engage in volunteer opportunities by contacting local non-profit organizations, churches, and schools. If your parent is unable to drive, their elderly care provider can drive them to participate in volunteer activities.
Here are some ideas for ways that your parent can volunteer:
- Animal Shelters: If your parent enjoys pets and is still fairly active, they can volunteer to walk dogs at the local animal shelter. If your parent is more of a cat person, they could help out with the cats and kittens who also need some human interaction.
- Churches: If your parent is part of a church, contact the church office to find out about ministry projects your parent can get involved in. Many churches have knitting and sewing groups that make things for hospitals, homeless shelters, and other organizations. The church may also be able to give your parent a job to do at the church, such as folding weekly bulletins or stuffing envelopes.
- Schools: Some schools have after school programs or tutoring programs your parent may be able to help with. They may be able to help children improve reading skills or assist with homework.
- Senior Centers: Senior centers usually have lots of things going on, including classes for seniors. If your parent has a special skill that they could teach others, the senior center might be interested in having them teach a class. Or, if your parent still drives, they might be interested in delivering meals to housebound seniors.
Volunteering is a great way for your parent to stay active and involved in life while also making the lives of others a little better. Talk to your parent about things they are interested in and how they can use their interests and skills to help others. Again, if you are concerned about your parent being able to get to volunteer activities, your parent’s elderly care provider can help them to get ready to go and drive them to the activity.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Fairfax, VA, contact the caring staff at Access Home Care Inc. Proudly Serving Northern Virginia and Surroundings for over 12 years. Call Us: (703) 765-9350
“My desire to enter into nursing started when one of my older sisters died of kidney disease due to lack of care. At age 15, I decided to enter into nursing so that I could provide quality care to patients.Upon arrival in United States at 21 years of age, I enrolled in T.C Willliams School of Practical Nursing while working as a nursing assistant at a nursing home. I also worked as a part-time home health aide to take of the elderly. After completion of my practical nurse education, I worked in geriatric psychiatry unit at Dominion Hospital and Arlington Correctional facility mental health unit.
I completed Marymount University in 2001 and entered into Home Care as a field case manager.
I held that position for 2 years and as an Administrator, and for another 2 years until Access Home Care was found in 2004."
Today, Access Home Care has over 300 employees and 286 clients.