April is National Volunteer Month and the perfect time to say thank you to all of those who donate their time giving back to help non-profits like the American Senior Alliance.
Volunteering is a win-win for the organization and for those who serve.
The author of Life's Little Instruction Book, H. Jackson Brown, Jr., said, "Remember that the happiest people in life are not those getting more, but those giving more." We agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Brown!
According to a recent study published in the Washington Post, people who volunteered in the last year were more satisfied with their lives and gave their overall health higher grades. Those who volunteered more often seemed to experience greater benefits. Even those who volunteered once a month had improved mental health compared to those who volunteered infrequently or not at all.
The Mayo Clinic reports 6 healthy benefits from volunteering, especially for older adults:
- Volunteering creates a sense of purpose- whether working at a hospital or a local community center, taking time to serve gives seniors a sense of purpose. By simply answering the telephone or greeting patients who are walking in to receive care provides many mental and physical health benefits to older adults who volunteer.
- Volunteering decreases the risk of depression- research shows volunteering helps lower depression in those 65 and older. By volunteering, seniors increase social interactions that build relationships and a common bond that decreases depression.
- Volunteering helps people stay physically and mentally active- we have all heard the saying, "If we fail to use it, we will lose it." Volunteering helps older adults keep their minds and bodies moving. By taking time to serve others, the mind is working and the body gets worked when involved in activities.
- Volunteering may reduce stress- over the last 12 months, seniors have been isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic which created much stress in their daily lives. Taking the time to assist others in a time of need will reduce stress. The health experts report high-stress levels may cause high blood pressure, therefore having an outlet to volunteer should improve health outcomes.
- Volunteering helps develop new relationships- anytime you venture out to begin volunteering, you will create new social connections and relationships. An outstanding way to make new friends or improve existing relationships is to participate in a shared activity together.
- Volunteering may help you live longer- the experts indicate that volunteering may improve your health by lowering blood pressure, but it can also improve chronic pain and heart disease too.
Helen Keller was fond of saying, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." The benefits are many and if we are interested in improving our health, we should all give it a try. For those who have volunteered, we say thank you for your dedication and passion. For those who are thinking about jumping in to serve, there is no better time than beginning April 1, the start of National volunteering month.