You have been waiting for this moment for a long time now. That moment when you don’t have to get up, rush around and out the door first thing in the morning to get to your job. You have now officially entered into retirement life.

Okay, so yes you have some plans for retirement, such as: traveling, spending more time with family and friends and perhaps taking up a new hobby. Regardless, you are still finding some extra time on your hands and cannot help but feel as if something is missing.

A study was done at Wharton College, which found people who give of their time, felt more capable, confident and useful. Volunteering can provide that perfect outlet where you can utilize some of that extra time to assist in addressing some of the most pressing needs in your community.

Not sure what area you might be interested in volunteering? What might you be passionate about? Think back to a time when you had to go through something incredibly difficult. It is in those seemingly tough times, where passions lie and can be born. You can use what you went through and learned to help others in similar tough situations.

For instance, possibly you experienced flooding, or you were affected by one of the wildfires and you know just how devastating it can be when you lose so much. Volunteer at your local Red Cross. Maybe there was a time when you were sick and felt alone and isolated. Volunteer your time at a hospital. As older adults, you have such wisdom and life experience to draw upon and provide genuine support and empathy to someone when they need it the most.

The National Institute on Aging reported that participating in activities that are meaningful and productive may lower the risk of dementia, disability and other health problems. Also, in a study done by the Corporation for National and Community Service, researchers found that individuals who engaged in volunteering activities experienced a shorter course of depression than those who did not volunteer. Volunteering may enhance a person’s social networks to buffer stress and reduce risk of disease.

There are countless volunteer opportunities. Below are some examples:

  • Tutoring/mentoring children or teens
  • Serving meals to seniors or to those experiencing homelessness at centers
  • Organizing clothing and other donations for those in need
  • Delivering Meal on Wheels
  • Helping out at your local library
  • Aiding at an animal shelter or zoo
  • Assisting at one of the many museums in town
  • Providing minor in-home repairs for seniors
  • Mentoring veterans

It is prudent to not take on too much at once in regards to volunteering. Begin in small increments and if you seem to be managing it, then you may increase your time and commitment. Also, if you have some physical limitations, do not let it deter you. There are organizations that would be more than happy to find  something that is accommodating to your needs. Volunteering should be fun and not stressful. If you find it becoming stressful, you may have to switch to another volunteer opportunity, and that is ok. You do not know until you try and it may take some time to find a perfect fit.

For more information on volunteer opportunities within your community, contact Denver Senior Care consultants. The team can connect you with a reputable organization that can find just the right fit for you. Life is not over when retirement begins, it is simply a new beginning and opportunity for a chance to give back.