How to Find a Meaningful Volunteer Project during Retirement
Successfully transitioning from the working world to retirement often happens in phases. In the days immediately following retirement, a senior might feel a sense of relief and freedom. A lifetime in a structured work environment often limits a person’s ability to explore hobbies and enjoy free time.
After the early days have passed, however, a retiree might find themselves at loose ends. Feeling as if they don’t have purpose may even lead to loneliness and depression.
If this scenario sounds too familiar, you might want to consider volunteering for an agency or a cause you believe in. From a decrease in risk for depression to lower odds of developing heart disease, seniors who volunteer benefit greatly from sharing their time with others.
Volunteering during Retirement
Before you make a commitment to a charitable organization, take time to do a little soul-searching. Make sure to think through all the pros and cons of volunteer work:
- Time investment required: While volunteer work can give older adults purpose, it may require more time than you have to give. Think about your travel plans and other demands on your schedule. Be realistic in determining how much time you have to share with an organization each week or month.
- Location and transportation: How far are you willing and able to travel for volunteer opportunities? Some older adults are still actively driving, while others limit their driving to short distances or hang up the car keys entirely. Depending on your personal situation, you might need to rely on public transportation or a transportation service such as Lyft. Keep that in mind as you explore volunteer positions in your community.
- Volunteer goals: Reflect on what you hope to gain through your volunteer work. Are you looking to raise money for a cause close to your heart? For example, if you lost a loved one to cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, you might find meaning in supporting efforts to fund research. If you are looking to meet new people, you’ll want to find a volunteer project that allows you to work in groups or as part of a team.
Connecting with Volunteer Work
Once you’ve thought through your retirement lifestyle, take time to explore local volunteer opportunities before you commit to any single organization. A few ways you can do that include:
- calling your local United Way chapter to identify opportunities
- contacting an organization you are interested in directly, such as the local zoo or art museum
- utilizing an online database like VolunteerMatch or Points of Light network.
At Sunrise Senior Living communities, we understand the benefits that residents can enjoy when they give back. Through our Live With Generosity program, residents have plenty of opportunities to stay involved in their community through ongoing service projects.
And, we welcome non-resident volunteers to help with a wide variety of meaningful projects, including assisting with life enrichment activities. Click here to learn more!
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