Volunteering is the act of willingly giving your time in order to help a person, community or cause, without receiving financial gain. And while you do give your time for free, you certainly do not walk away empty handed.
Alice Larkin has been volunteering for over 20 years.
“When I retired in 1993, my daughter, Yvonne, said to me and my husband ‘Why don’t you volunteer?’ and we began doing Meals on Wheels. My husband volunteered for the year but I kept going with it.”
Alice says there are many benefits to volunteering her time, with one of the biggest being the socialization aspect, making friends with other seniors who volunteer with her and receive the meals.
“The people we deliver meals to, they all like to have a chat. There is one lady who is 92 and she still lives in her own home. She really enjoys the company and it’s nice for me to get out and about chatting with different people as well.”
While there are hundreds of reasons to volunteer in retirement, the most obvious include:
- Giving back
- To be part of the community
- For motivation and a sense of achievement
- To diversify your life and develop new interests, and
- Meet new people and form new friendships with adults 50 plus
However, it is important to consider why you are volunteering in the first place and to not always go with a cause tied to your career. For example, if your job was demanding and stressful, you may want to use your retirement years to volunteer in a different field or doing something less demanding.
Before making a commitment or choosing a specific place to volunteer at, ask yourself the following questions:
- Would I prefer to make a continual commitment or help at one-time events?
- Do I want to ‘help’ other people (i.e. driving them to appointments, social work, etc.) or ‘work’ with other people (organizing events, admin work, etc.)?
- How much time can I comfortably commit to?
- Am I willing to go through training in order to volunteer?
- Do I have a preference in working with those younger, the same age as me or older?
- Do I need my own transportation in order to follow-through on the volunteer opportunity?
Alice made the decision to fill her retirement years with a meaningful cause and has never looked back. When asked if she would recommend volunteering to others, her response was absolute.
“Yes, oh yes. If you can drive or get to where you need to be it is great to do something worthwhile instead of sitting around.”
And while she doesn’t do it for the recognition, it was a nice perk to receive a plaque for her 20 years of service.
The last question we had for Alice was if she planned to stop anytime soon.
“Well, my neighbor just stopped after 35 years, so I think I have some years left. I’m not much for watching the telly, and this keeps me busy. I also volunteer at the parish and do a lot of crocheting. I enjoy it and it benefits others, so it is a win-win all around.”
Whether you have always volunteered or are looking to start, find others in your community to connect with as well as wonderful organizations and causes to get involved with through Amintro.com. Our social app is designed to facilitate friendships for seniors, creating more diverse social circles and opportunities for adults 50+.
Make friends. Live life.
Written by Christine Tompa