If you are retired and you want volunteering to absorb some of your spare time, then voluntary service for an organization that you feel passionate about could be the answer.
There is a view of retirees, which may or may not be true, that they have endless free time. In the course of your retirement planning you may have already scheduled a good deal of your time for family, friends, travel, and retirement hobbies. And perhaps you have a part time retirement job. You are going to be busy! And yet, you have arrived at this page because you have an innate desire to serve, to pass on your skills and knowledge, to give something back. If that sums up your life stage, you are the ideal candidates for volunteerism.
One of the best pieces of advice I got from my retirement coach was to avoid making any major commitments affecting my first year of retirement, such as selling the family home, moving abroad, taking a retirement job, or community service. But I didn't heed his advice!
A good friend of mine invited me to take on the role of secretary to a national service organization. I accepted the office, based on our friendship, without understanding what the position involved. I soon discovered that it just wasn't for me. I greatly admired the work of the organization, but I had no interest in secretarial committee work, and the time commitment didn't fit my lifestyle. I managed to quickly extricate myself, without too much inconvenience to the organization, or discord with my friend. I felt a calling to service beyond my self interest, but I hadn't given adequate consideration to my goals and interests
Think about why you want to be of service, and what you would enjoy doing. Activities that match both your goals and your interests are most likely to be enjoyable and fulfilling for you. Your time is valuable, and you don’t want your efforts be drudgery. The ideal way to help is to serve in a way that matches your personality and interests. The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteers and the organization they serve.
If you are an older person you may choose to serve for a number of reasons:
You benefit yourself and your family, as well as the cause you choose to help. As a member of the Rotary Club, I often hear participants kindly say that they benefited from their service at least as much as the people they assisted.
Research confirms that voluntary service improves the health of seniors. They become more engaged in their world and reap health benefits. Volunteering is good for physical and mental health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults, as it encourages them to stay active. Active retirement is crucial for healthy ageing and senior healthcare.
Service to others leads to greater life satisfaction and lower rates of depression. The feeling of fulfillment you get from making other people happy makes you happy.
What are you being called to do? Find a cause! Supporting others leads to a more meaningful, longer and healthier life.
There are numerous options available. In a future article I will give you some ideas on where to find opportunities for volunteering with seniors.
Many Retirees are more active than their parents were, and are excited to reconnect with the adventure and volunteering experience of their youth.
Read this inspirational story about the retirement adventure The Ambulance Man.