Alongside being an opportunity to use your experience and skills, volunteering also provides benefits to both health and wellbeing.
Depending on your situation, you may have recently retired and miss having something to do, you may still be in work but want to give back to your community, or you may even simply want to meet new people. Whatever circumstances you find yourself in, the top benefits of volunteering are as follows:
Gives You a Sense of Purpose
Volunteering allows you to explore your passions and interests alongside giving back to worthy causes. It gives you something to focus on, provides a sense of meaning and helps keep your mind sharp.
Keeps You Active
As well as keeping your mind active, volunteering can also aid your physical health. As volunteering will usually involve various different activities, it will get you moving around, helping to keep you fit and mobile.
Allows You to Meet Others
Volunteering involves giving back to the community, but this is also a two-way street. It presents the opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals, expand your social circle and form new friendships. It will also build upon your existing ties within your community, allowing you to really be a part of where you live.
Learn New Knowledge and Skills
Alongside the experience and skills you already possess, volunteering can give you the chance to learn something new. It may provide the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge within the area you are volunteering in or provide you with experience doing a new task. This could involve working in a charity shop, organising fundraising events or providing telephone support to those in need.
Restores Confidence and Self-Esteem
If you have worked all of your life, when you retire, it can be challenging to know how to fill your time. Arguably it can take a while to adapt, but it is essential that you feel good about yourself and value your worth. Volunteering and helping others can provide a huge confidence boost and sense of achievement that staying at home simply cannot compete with.
To find out more about volunteering and opportunities available to you, visit our dedicated guide.
In terms of health benefits, are there specific sectors or jobs I should be looking at for volunteer work?
There are variety of working environments where older volunteers may experience health benefits. One great option if you’re looking to stay healthy later in life is volunteering outdoors, such as at a nature reserve, garden centre or woodland trust. Outdoor work will give you the opportunity to get some fresh air as well as keeping you on your feet and moving. Another option is to volunteer at an organisation where you will experience plenty of social interaction, such as at organised charity events or charity shops. Chatting and engaging with others is great for mental health and wellbeing, especially for those that may be more isolated.