Senior centers can be great places for older adults to get out of the house, meet new friends, and stay active. But they can also be beneficial in another way: by providing opportunities for older adults to serve as volunteers, or “Elders helpers.”
Volunteering has well-documented benefits for older adults, including improved mental and physical health, a sense of purpose, and a sense of social connectedness. And while senior centers can certainly benefit from the help of older adults, Elders helpers can also benefit from the experience.
Here are seven ways that serving as an elders helper can be beneficial for older adults:
- It can help improve mental health:
Research has shown that volunteering can help improve mental health in older adults. One study found that those who volunteered had a lower risk of depression and anxiety, and another found that volunteering was associated with increased life satisfaction.
- It can help improve physical health:
In addition to mental health benefits, volunteering can also lead to physical health benefits. One study found that volunteering was associated with a lower risk of mortality, and another found that it was associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure.
- It can give elders a sense of purpose:
Many older adults find that volunteering gives them a sense of purpose. It can be a way to stay involved and connected to the community, and it can give elders a sense of pride and satisfaction.
- It can help them feel more socially connected:
Older adults who volunteer can benefit from increased social connectedness. Volunteering can provide opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, and it can also help strengthen existing relationships.
- It can help reduce boredom and isolation:
For older adults who are isolated or bored, volunteering can be a great way to get out of the house and do something meaningful. senior center benefits can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, and it can provide structure and routine.
- It can provide opportunities for continued learning:
Older adults who volunteer can benefit from continued learning opportunities. Volunteering can be a way to learn new skills or knowledge, and it can also be a way to keep the mind active and sharp.
- It can be a fun and rewarding experience:
Volunteering can be a fun and rewarding experience for older adults. It can be a great way to give back to the community, and it can also be a way to stay active and engaged.