Volunteering After Retirement

Retirement and the launch of your golden years is wonderful. You’re able to say goodbye to long commutes, stressful meetings and late nights in the office. The decades of juggling a family and a career are over. You now have plenty of time to do things you enjoy and find new hobbies. But, what if plenty of time is too much time?

With so many things happening in the world, you don’t have to look far to find volunteer opportunities-which is a perfect way to spend that extra time. While you are helping others and improving lives, you are also improving your own. Volunteering is good for your mental health- it keeps your brain and body active. It also helps prevent senior depression and isolation. Volunteering will likely mean something different to everyone. Becoming a volunteer could range from working at an animal shelter, feeding the homeless, or mentoring children.

To get started volunteering, here are a few ideas and tips. Whatever you decide to do though, make sure it is something you are passionate about.

1. Put Your Skills to Work

If you’re a skilled handyman or worked in carpentry, consider using these skills by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that works with families in need of decent, affordable housing, and volunteers to build and improve homes.
If you were a teacher or have experience working with children, consider working with your local 4-H to provide care and supportive mentoring to youth in your community.
Whatever your skills lie, put them to use through volunteering. Be creative.

2. Engage Your Interests

If you have a love for animals, consider volunteering at an animal shelter. They are always in need of volunteers to play with the animals, take them on walks and just show them love. Maybe you enjoy gardening. Put this passion to good use- look into starting a community garden.

3. Help the Needy in Your Community

Almost every community has a local food bank, homeless shelter or other type of community resource. These places are always in need of volunteers to prepare and serve meals or collect supplies.

4. Be Open Minded and Start Small

Ask for recommendations from friends and family, check websites or organizations in your area, or visit your local Seniors Center to inquire about opportunities. Once you find something you are interested in, start small. Get your feet wet though short periods of volunteering- maybe 2 hours at the food pantry or one Saturday afternoon at the animal shelter.

Studies show that those who volunteer experience greater life satisfaction and may have lower risk of health problems, including dementia. So, find a cause you are passionate about and start using your free time to give back.