Finding Fulfillment After Quitting the Workforce

According to the US census, the average retirement age of American citizens is around 63 years (though this is considered early retirement when you take in the Social Security factor). With the average life expectancy far exceeding the typical career, many seniors find themselves looking for something to do. And, often, they find the answer through volunteering.

Volunteering by the Numbers

Per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, about a quarter of the nation volunteers. Certain demographics are more likely to do so: women volunteer at higher rates than men and teenagers volunteer at higher rates than people in their twenties. Seniors are another demographic known to help; they give and get back in return (retirees who volunteer generally experience better health and a higher quality of life).

Volunteer Opportunities

There are many ways to volunteer from things that take a matter of minutes (such as donating blood) to those that are more involved (such as manning the gift shop at a hospital).

The Volunteers of America Colorado Branch lists several possibilities. Some of these include:

·         Tutoring or mentoring school children

·         Training students to pass the GED

·         Serving or delivering meals

·         Helping veterans and their families

·         Working occasional special events

·         Preparing the community for natural or manmade disasters

·         Playing games or doing crafts at senior centers

·         Sharing or cultivating creative talents, such as painting or playing an instrument

·         Providing companionship

·         Aiding victims of crime or circumstance

There are a variety of places that welcome volunteers with open arms. Hospitals, animal shelters, schools, and churches are some of the better known, but libraries, police and fire stations, veterinarian offices, and zoos offer volunteer opportunities, too. Health organizations (such as the American Heart Association) and one-time or annual events (such as book fairs or marathons) are also in need. 

The Benefits of Volunteering

As mentioned above, volunteering does a person good. Not only does it get people out of the house, but it allows them to make new friends. Volunteers are given opportunities to learn about the community, receive invitations to social activities, and find purpose. Some types of volunteering even allow those involved to see the world.

The Go Overseas volunteer program for seniors lets do-gooders become sight-seers. The program offers flexibility: seniors can commit to a couple of weeks or a couple of years. They can also choose where they go, be it Europe, Africa, Australia or somewhere else. And they can bring a friend: programs offer the chance to volunteer alone or within a group.

Volunteering has long been a win-win for all involved. Seniors enjoying their retirement often find they enjoy it more when giving back and putting their knowledge, skills, and talents to use. To get more information on other volunteer opportunities, please visit our site or contact us


Photo courtesy of Pixabay under Creative Commons 0 license