It is the season of giving. There is no better time than right now to donate your time and energy to a worthy cause. Not only does it feel good to know that you’re doing a good deed, but it also has a plethora of benefits to a person’s physical and mental health that serve as an added bonus.
According to a study referenced by SparkPeople, 85% of people who reported volunteering their time rated their health in better regards when compared to non-volunteers. In addition, only 2% of people who volunteered reported poor health, as opposed to the one-third of the non-volunteers who participated in that study. It does not stop there, though, as research conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National & Community Service revealed that charitable work is also good for a person’s heart health. The study confirmed that individuals who volunteered their time reported less incidents of heart disease as well as improving the health of individuals with pre-existing heart conditions. It really does pay to give back.
Increased Self Esteem
It is no secret that there is a link between feelings of self-worth and empowerment and good health. Giving back to your community this holiday season could stimulate feelings of euphoria and the release of endorphins, the same feelings someone gets while going to a gym to exercise. Simply put, it is really easy for a person to feel good about themselves while they’re helping those in need.
Encourages Social Interaction
Loneliness and depression are some of the most common issues that senior citizens face, especially when transitioning into an assisted living environment. Participating in volunteer programs that encourage teamwork among many different groups of people is a great way for residents to interact with the people around them. Gibran Chambers, Executive Director of Poet’s Walk, A Spring Hills Memory Care Community, in Cedar Park has seen the social benefits that volunteering can have first hand, “We have seen residents who help others often participate in more activities. This fosters a great environment where low and high acuity residents benefit. Our lower acuity residents feel more empowered and apart of the family. As a result our high acuity residents tend to sit up taller, interact more and even emulate the other residents.”
Fosters Personal Development
It is never too late in life to continue growing as a person, and volunteering is a great way to do that. Whether you choose to donate your time to a local soup kitchen or wrap Christmas presents for needy children, volunteering is a great avenue to personal discovery- no matter where in life you are. For senior citizens especially, the morals and values that are developed through volunteering are crucial. In fact, according to a recent study by Allianz Insurance referenced by CNBC, “75 percent of Boomers said passing down family values and life lessons was more important than the actual monetary amount they’re leaving in the inheritance.”
Helping the Less Fortunate
Finally, and most importantly, volunteering provides you with the opportunity to help your fellow citizen when they need it the most. Volunteering allows you to do something valuable with the resources you have been lucky enough to have readily available and make a difference in a struggling individual’s life. Thomas Clarke, the Executive Director of Spring Hills Senior Communities in Mount Vernon recounts, “Volunteering is not only an opportunity to give back to the community but often takes a person (away) from dwelling about their problems because they are focusing on giving love.”
No matter where you are in life, the benefits of volunteering can help turn a simple good deed into a healthy activity that can be enjoyed year-round. Senior citizens, especially, can use it as a way to further their own personal development at a point in their lives where they didn’t even know they still could. So, this holiday season, remember to give some of your blessings back. It is not only good for those in need, but it is good for you, too. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering or what each of our Poet’s Walk locations currently offer in terms of programs, you can learn more here.