4 Psychological Benefits of Giving and Volunteering Amongst Seniors
Social activities, such as volunteering amongst seniors, enable them to continue to contribute to society. Volunteering is a lifestyle adjustment that enhances the integration of seniors into the community, reducing their chances of feeling isolated, lonely, or forgotten.
Seniors' participation in volunteer programs will likely improve their welfare, especially during seasonal holidays when family and friends gather, and they cannot attend due to distance or illness. Volunteerism can also improve skill sets, relationships, and health–even for those with chronic diseases like dementia. Here's an overview of some psychological benefits that seniors can experience from volunteering and giving.
1. Improved Mental and Physical Health
Volunteering activities require people to be active. Volunteers among seniors can benefit from the physical and mental activities involved, decreasing the chances of experiencing anxiety and depression.
Engaging in charity work helps to reduce stress and increase relaxation and positive feelings from the release of the feel-good hormones–oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Additionally, spending time serving others encourages a sense of appreciation and meaning, which reduces the effects of stress.
As a result, many mental and physical health problems may decrease, such as general illness, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and stroke. In addition, being in service to others has been linked to delayed mortality rate and greater functional ability.
2. Nurtures Existing and New Relationships
Volunteering among people of the same age group with common interests helps build a stronger support system, and increases social interaction. For seniors, friendships are not the social glue and glitz for life. Good friendships help dispel isolation and loneliness, boosting their sense of well-being and maintaining proper brain function.
Volunteering amongst seniors is an excellent way to reconnect with their family members, friends, and the community. Together, seniors and their families can form a bond, learn, help others, and make meaningful memories through established visitations and communal activities.
3. Helps to Prevent Isolation and Loneliness
Social isolation is a widespread issue. Although it cuts through generations, it affects seniors the most, causing depression and other psychological problems. Loneliness is a pressing issue among seniors, and it's also linked to a higher mortality rate among retirees. Being connected with the community through charity work and volunteering promotes socialization, enabling seniors to feel happier and have a positive outlook on life.
4. Provides an Opportunity for Learning
Being part of a volunteering group enables seniors to learn new things about others, including how the younger generation lives and functions. In addition, when the older and younger generation interact, they can teach each other about things they have never tried before. Volunteer activities can align with any interests, including cooking, business, exercise, or building.
It's essential to keep the brain active, and continued learning can improve memory by maintaining and enhancing overall cognitive health.
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