Taking time to volunteer not only helps the recipient organization, it can help you! Yes, that’s right! Volunteering can provide a stress relief for home caregivers and the “feel good” benefits may help senior volunteers live happier and healthier lives.
Yes, healthier! According to U.S. News & World Report, a 2007 government report looked at dozens of studies relating to volunteers and health impact found that “people who volunteer enjoy longer lives, higher functional ability and lowers rates of depression and heart disease.”
Volunteering Can Fit Into Your Schedule
And the study found that this health benefit didn’t even require a tremendous time commitment – only about two hours of volunteer work a week was enough to make a difference.
Just think: spending a couple of hours per week doing things that help others and make your community and your world a better place can help you to have a better quality of life yourself.
Volunteering just makes you feel good all over. It takes you “out of yourself” and lets you feel connected to a larger group – sometimes literally. One of the pluses of volunteering is that you get out and meet people that you might not otherwise meet, or get to visit with people you may know slightly and get to know them better. Your world is enlarged and enriched when you step out of yourself and join up with others.
And volunteering really does make an impact on others.
Sharing and Caring
Gina Drohan knows this. Gina recently started Ladybug Connections, which aims to help reduce waste while helping those who are less fortunate. Ladybug Connections connects your gently used, unneeded household goods, clothing, or almost anything to families in need.
Gina started Ladybug Connections because of a lesson taught her by her late grandmother. “One of my fondest memories is her telling stories of her childhood in Romania,” Gina explains on the Ladybug Connections website. “Although their family was very poor, and they each only had two dresses (or pant sets for the boys) her mother would bring out what food they had and a dress and some clothes for the gypsy children when they passed through. Her mother, my great-grandmother started in her own way, so many years ago, Ladybug Connections, giving what little she had to those children.”
Gina continues her family tradition of opening her heart to others. And it’s a funny thing about opening your heart: the more you open it, the more room there is for joy and happiness.
Pick Your Cause
There are so many ways to give of yourself. Soup kitchens, libraries, museums, schools, community centers, animal shelters, hospitals, tutoring services, “Meals-on-Wheels”, and so many other non-profit organizations need help. If you have a particular interest, chances are there’s an organization that would be delighted to use the special qualities that you bring to them.
If you’re not actively volunteering, consider whether you should: chances are it will reward you in ways you wouldn’t dream of.
Share Your Story!
We would love to hear about your volunteer efforts in the community!