If you’ve ever donated blood, participated in a charity walk, or served a Thanksgiving meal in a shelter, you know how good volunteering makes you feel. But the health benefits of volunteering for seniors are more than just mental. Studies show volunteering can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, and extend your lifespan.
What’s more, volunteering is a great way to connect with others and form new friendships. As a senior volunteer, you can apply the skills and wisdom you’ve acquired throughout your life to make a difference in the lives of others. In the process, you’ll gain a greater sense of purpose and achievement supporting a cause you care about.
Volunteering for Seniors
There are any number of worthy causes and a growing need for volunteers to support them. To get you started, here are five volunteer opportunities for seniors to consider:
1. Mentor Youth
Tutoring and mentoring are two of the most rewarding ways for seniors to volunteer in their communities. You can learn new skills (especially communication and technology skills), pass along life lessons and become a force for good in the lives of youths. At StoneRidge, we recently completed our annual biography project with Pine Point School in nearby Stonington. Students spend six weeks interviewing residents, then present the biography they’ve written (which they did via Zoom this year). StoneRidge residents also work with Pine Point kindergartners, reading with them or being read to, working on art projects, or playing games with them.
2. Volunteer at Museums
Volunteering at local museums is a great way to interact with a wide range of people in the community. Many StoneRidge residents volunteer at Mystic Seaport, which attracts more than a quarter-million visitors annually. An interest in sea life and preserving its habitat draws other residents to volunteer at Mystic Aquarium. The Mystic Museum of Art is another place you’ll find us, helping to support the appreciation and practice of visual art. Check with your local museums for a senior volunteer program in your community.
3. Clean Up a Local Park
Parks often need help picking up trash, clearing walking trails, and making them a better place for everyone to enjoy. If you’re unsure where to start, look up local parks, as administrators often post online to organize cleanup days. It’s a great way to meet people, get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. At the nearby Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, StoneRidge residents volunteer in the nature store, help maintain trails or lend a hand in the Giving Garden.
4. Donate to Food Banks and Pantries
With school closures, job losses and health risks due to coronavirus, millions of Americans are turning to food banks for support. You can make a difference in their lives by helping food banks and pantries stock up with much-needed supplies, or by packing and sorting donated food. You can also get involved with online fundraising to support your local food bank. Visit Feed America or Food Pantries to find an organization near you.
5. Help in Your Own Neighborhood
You don’t have to look far to find volunteer opportunities for seniors. It could be as simple as checking in on neighbors, friends and family — especially those who may be alone. A phone call, text, or Facetime call could brighten their day. Look at your community’s needs to find more ways to help. For a list of senior volunteer projects you can do from home, visit All For Good.
Volunteering is Part of a Fulfilling Life at StoneRidge
Residents enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle at StoneRidge, which gives them more time to do what they want. Volunteering is high on their list. Whether they’re heading up a crafting class, reading to residents in skilled nursing, or planting and maintaining gardens on campus, we support their efforts to give back to the community.