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Monday, October 03, 2022 19:04

Doing Good for Others Can Enhance Older Adult Health & Well-being

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Fresh air and colorful fall foliage make the autumn months ideal for spending time outdoors. An excellent way for older adults to be active outside is to become involved with a volunteer project in their local community. When senior citizens become active in doing good deeds for others, their health and well-being improve! 

Someone who chooses to do volunteer work does so because they believe it makes a difference for others who are having a harder time in life. Research shows that such altruistic behavior also makes the volunteer feel good about themselves. Volunteerism helps give a person a refreshed perspective on their own life and a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves.

Beyond just feeling good in that moment of doing a good deed, volunteering also has lasting effects on several aspects of an older adult’s physical and social-emotional health and well-being.

Older Adults Volunteers Experience Improved Social Well-being 

The isolation that comes from not feeling a sense of belonging and having a community that one can rely on is detrimental for an older adult’s health. Seniors who spend too much time alone can become depressed and anxious, which can contribute to other health problems. 

When older adults get involved with volunteer work they experience benefits for their social well-being, such as:

  • Stronger sense of community and personal connection to people and resources 
  • Opportunities to create genuine friendships
  • Reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation

Older Adult Volunteers Have Enhanced Emotional Well-being 

When older adults are active in their community, using their time and talent to give back to others, it reinforces a sense of urgency, brings meaning to their life, and helps them acquire perspective on how much living and giving they still have left to offer. The emotional benefits of volunteer work for older adults include:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Greater sense of worthiness
  • Reduced feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Regaining a sense of purpose and meaning

Older Adult Volunteers Experience Positive Changes in Their Physical Health 

In general, people who volunteer are more physically active; have lower rates of heart disease, depression, anxiety; and overall take better care of themselves. 

A few of the many physical health effects that come from being engaged in volunteer work include:

  • Being more physically active and improving fitness
  • Enhanced resilience
  • Less affected by muscle tension
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

There are many ways for older adults to become active volunteers in their local community. Everbrook community program directors are always looking for local events. You may also reach out to your local library, children’s home, or food shelter to see what type of help they need. Perhaps you have a hobby or skill from your professional experience that can benefit a local non-profit. Maybe you want to try something new; volunteering is a great way to learn a new skill! Find a cause that is meaningful for you and get involved—you’ll be helping others and helping improve your health, too! 

Everbrook Senior Living Residents are Active Members of a Community

At Everbrook, we believe that interdependence helps to preserve independence. We encourage our residents to become involved in their community, both at and outside of their immediate residence. 

Our caring and dedicated team will help residents discover what is significant in their life. Residents, with as much support as is needed for their functional status, can become involved, active, and healthier through a variety of activities at Everbrook and in the community beyond Everbrook. The hub for these opportunities is our Wellness 4 Later Life™ program, which encompasses seven dimensions of wellness: physical, spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, vocational, and environmental, as are advocated by the International Council of Active Aging

If you are looking for a senior community where you'll experience mutual respect and support among residents, as well as a place where all residents experience belonging, and can find meaningful ways to be involved in life, then please visit an Everbrook Senior Living community today. 

Resources

NationalService.gov. “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A review of Recent Research.” Corporation of National & Community Service. Accessed 13 Oct 2018: https://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf

Thebalancesmb.com “The 15 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering that will Inspire You.” Accessed 13 October 2018: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering-4132453 

CreateTheGood.org “Health Benefits of Volunteering.” Accessed 13 Oct 2014: http://createthegood.org/articles/volunteeringhealth 

Carlson, Michelle C., Erickson, Kirk I., Kramer, Arthur F., et al., “ Evidence for Neurocognitive Plasticity in at-risk older adults: The Experience Corps Program.” Jls of Gerontology: Series A, (1 December 2009) 64A:12, Pages 1275–1282, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glp117

 

 

 

Read 305 times Last modified on Tuesday, October 04, 2022 12:39
Karen M. Rider

Karen M. Rider, M.A. crafts credible and compelling health content to better engage readers in their own health journey. With 15 years health writing experience, Karen has worked with a variety of healthcare organizations and medical practitioners to develop content that elevates consumer health literacy.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-m-rider
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