monthly cover
Senior Spectrum Newspaper
May 2018
Current Golden Pages Cover
Golden Pages
Current Generation Boomer cover
Generation Boomer

Senior Spectrum Publications

Doing Good is Good for You
top of page


As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, they are redefining what it means to reach this aging milestone. Some are delaying retirement. But whether they are working or not, many are embracing opportunities to contribute in new ways by volunteering, sharing a lifetime of knowledge and experience to improve the lives of people in their communities. But volunteering not only benefits society— research shows it can also pay big dividends in better health as you age.

If you volunteer for as little as two hours a week, or about 96 hours per year, you may experience improved mental, emotional and physical health—benefits that many older volunteers are reaping because, on average, they contribute almost twice as many hours as any other age group. Volunteering can help to reduce depression, lessen chronic pain and give your brain a boost. You may even live longer!

Do you need another reason to get on the volunteer bandwagon? With the number of volunteers age 65 and older expected to double in just a few years, chances are, you’ll be in good company as you reconnect with old friends or make new ones.

Volunteering May Improve Brain Health

Even when controlling for other factors such as age, health and gender, research has found that when older people volunteer, they are more likely to live longer.

The process of finding the right volunteer opportunity begins with asking yourself a few key questions.

What issues or topics do you find especially interesting? For example, have you always wanted to work with older adults or children? How about veterans or people with special needs?

What activities do you really enjoy? Keep in mind that the activities you choose should not be limited to the things you do well. In other words, if you’re a good writer, but often dread writing, explore activities that are more satisfying.

How much time can you realistically give to volunteering? Consider whether the duties will integrate well with the other priorities in your life.

And Get Started!