Expertise, Knowledge and Time

Let’s face it, as a senior many of us are not as active and involved as we used to be. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Many worthwhile groups and organizations are looking for volunteers to help out in various ways and senior volunteers are ideal for a number of different reasons.

Organizations recognize that older volunteers have a lot of experience and knowledge, are reliable and most often have flexible schedules that allow them to be generous with their time.

While there is no doubt benefits to the organization, there are also plenty of good reasons why volunteering is also favourable for those that are at retirement age and beyond.

  • Volunteering is one way to maintain good mental health. We all know it’s important to stay physically active, but it’s equally as important to be mentally active as well.
  • As we age, we sometimes feel lonely and isolated and it is often common for depression to set in. Volunteering can help to break up the day and allow seniors to spend time with other people to help combat isolation and loneliness.
  • Getting involved with a group or organization can help to expand a person’s circle of acquaintances and friends, regardless of how old you are. It may also mean being around a more diverse crowd and a younger generation, helping to bridge a generational and cultural gap.
  • “As we age, we can sometimes get caught up in what I call – ‘oh woe is me phase’, where you often hear comments how you aren’t able to do the things that you used to be able to do or you get caught up in talking about your physical ailments. Volunteering gives seniors another purpose and another focus and gives them something to look forward to,” said Debbie Brown, Senior Living Specialist with Rotary Villas at Crocus Gardens.
  • According to 2013 Statistics Canada survey results, only 38 per cent of seniors aged 65-74 were part of the volunteer pool in Canada. However, organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba, view senior volunteers as a significant resource and that’s why it’s important to volunteer more and not less.
  • “Our programs are free to all Manitobans and we depend on our volunteers to help maintain programming. Seniors or older adults comprise the majority of our volunteer pool in Westman and we consider them to be our most valuable asset. Our volunteers have a lifetime of professional and personal experience, as well as a unique skill set and perspective that they bring to our organization and our clients,” said Julie Hockley, Senior Manager, Regional Services of the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.