Staying active during retirement is essential to good health, and volunteering in your community is one of the best ways to engage. There's plenty of evidence that suggests volunteering can have incredible benefits to our health, longevity and well-being. A recent Georgia State University (GSU) study published in The Journals of Gerontology found that volunteering just a little more than eight hours a month can make you healthier and happier. Here's why:
Volunteering provides social interaction. Social engagement from volunteer work provides us with a sense of meaning and purpose. This prevents isolation, and often leads to a host of healthier behaviors that can provide physiological as well as mental benefits.
Volunteering keeps the brain active and supple. A 2014 review of literature in the Psychological Bulletin showed that when older adults volunteer, they have a 47% lower risk of dementia and cognitive decline than those who don't volunteer.
Volunteering keeps you physically active. Whether you're walking dogs at the Humane society, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, or restocking books at the library, volunteering can get you out and keep you moving, which is essential to good health.
Volunteering makes you happier. Many studies, such as the Americans' Changing Lives survey find those who volunteer report higher levels of happiness, life-satisfaction, self-esteem, and a sense of control over their lives.
To find volunteer opportunities, reach out to an organization in your area that you admire. Other resources include Senior Corps, Experience Corps, Idealist.org, Volunteer Match and United Way of Pierce (King, Thurston, Kitsap, to name a few) County. Retirement brings many changes and opportunities. We are here for you at Penny Lane Financial as a resource to help you live your best during retirement.