Retirement! Ahhh….it’s something a lot of us look forward to! More time to spend with the grandkids, more time to travel, more time to read all of the books you’ve been meaning to catch up on. More time in general! What do you do when faced with all of this free time all of a sudden? Have you considered volunteerism as an option?? What a great way to spend some of your days! Giving back to the community in which you live and care about. Maybe the community you’ve lived in most of your adult life. Luckily for you, seniors have a leg up in the volunteer world. There are many opportunities for you if you are willing to go out and find them!
A place to start might be the local YMCA or community center. Many places like this need volunteers to run the front desk, answer phones and greet members. And speaking of members, a great perk of this type of volunteering is that often times you are given a free membership! This is a huge saving to those on a retirement budget with lots of bonuses like activities, classes, and gym and pool privileges.
Along the same lines as the YMCA is your local senior center. If there is one in your community, it is safe to assume that they will always be looking for volunteers to help plan functions and organize events. Do you have a skill you can teach to others? Inquire about whether you can offer your services by teaching a class there. Maybe you knit or have experience in beginners woodworking that you can share. This will keep your skills sharp and benefit others all at the same time!
For all of you animal lovers out there, looking to your local humane society or branch of the SPCA can be a great place to volunteer and give you the warm fuzzies at the same time! So many animals are in need of love and care and who better than you to lend a helping hand?
Finally, it might be worth it to look into volunteering your time at the place of business that you just retired from. Think about the years of knowledge and skill you can bring to the new, green employees who are taking your place. Not only do you have years of expertise to impart to them, you are bridging the generation gap and offering them a better understanding of your cultural differences.
These are just a few options to get you started on your search for great volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is not only good for your physical well-being, it’s good for your mental well-being too. It has been shown to reduce depression in seniors, it gives you the opportunity to get out of the house, meet new people and most importantly, to give back.
Check out the RSVP program at http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/rsvp for volunteer opportunities for those who are 55 and older.
Good luck and happy volunteering!
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