Volunteering and Healthy Aging

Did you know that Canadian seniors volunteer an average of 223 hours each year? This is great news for Canada’s seniors, because volunteering can play a vital role in healthy aging. Remaining active and staying connected to the community can have a positive impact on a person’s social, physical and emotional wellbeing. Studies indicate that older adults who volunteer have reduced stress-related illnesses, higher self-esteem and are less likely to feel isolated.

Volunteering is a great way for seniors to:
• Put free time to good use
• Meet new people
• Gain new experiences
• Share your skills and knowledge
• Keep your body active
• Keep your mind active
• Stay healthy
• Have fun

Seniors have to say about their volunteer experience:

"You can get mixed up in your own trials and tribulations. Volunteering at the hospital is a constant reminder that your problems are nothing compared to what some people have to deal with.”

“I got involved (as a volunteer) because I found that I had a lot of time on my hands and I was a little bored sitting at home. Volunteering makes me feel good and I’m helping people.”

"As a volunteer dog walker, I give the dogs pleasure, which gives me pleasure. And walking is good for everyone. I like to walk. Taking care of yourself physically is very important.”

Resources

Transitions, Milestones, and Legacies: Retirement Planning Module on Volunteering — This tool shows the benefits of volunteering as part of a full retirement plan. Retirees can find opportunities that suit their motivations and life circumstances.
Building Blocks for Boomer Volunteer Engagement — This tool lists the opportunities and barriers to boomer engagement. It gives organization tips for recruiting and retaining baby boomer volunteers.
Building the Bridge to Baby Boomer Volunteers — This fact sheet outlines the features of baby boomer volunteers. Organizations can use it to better engage older volunteers.
Volunteering and Healthy Aging Project — This tool teaches the public and the voluntary sector about the many health benefits of volunteering.
Volunteer Connections: New Strategies for Involving Older Adults — How can organizations recruit and retain older adults? Read this resource to find out.
Volunteering: A Booming Trend — This resource is for baby boomers interested in volunteering. It shows the importance of volunteering and lets boomers know how they can get involved.
Volunteering and Older Adults: Final Report — This paper provides a comprehensive review of research on the nature and scope of baby boomer and senior citizen volunteering.
Funding: New Horizons for Seniors — Human Resources and Skills Development offers this funding opportunity to organizations that want to help seniors make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities though projects led or inspired by seniors.