Millions of seniors are freely giving their time and energy to good causes all over the country. You might be one of them. But did you know that volunteering doesn’t just benefit the people or organizations being served? It also has significant benefits for the volunteers – especially senior volunteers.
Volunteering builds relationships and gives seniors a renewed sense of purpose and feeling of accomplishment. Research shows that volunteering has many health benefits, including improved physical activity and reducing the risk of isolation and depression.
What are the benefits of giving? Research shows how important volunteering and giving back is for older adults’ mental and physical wellness. Living purposeful days gives people a sense of achievement at every age.
Those feelings of connecting and giving back are linked to longer, healthier lives. Other positive benefits of volunteering include:
Having seen the physical and emotional advantages of giving back in retirement, we encourage Hawthorn residents at all our communities to volunteer their time helping others. One community in particular made a huge impact in their local community this holiday season.
Residents, team members, family and friends at The Peaks at Santa Rita active retirement community in Green Valley, Arizona, recently hosted Peaks & Pies, a pie drive for the Food Bank of Green Valley. This pie drive came just in time for Thanksgiving, providing those in need a delicious pie to end their meals with.
“A pie adds a festive touch to a family meal. We welcome these donations at this busy time of year,” said Vicki Turner, Community Programs Coordinator at the Green Valley Resource Center for the Community Food Bank.
After the call went out to residents, staff and friends at the community to donate store-bought pies for the Green Valley Community Food Bank for Thanksgiving, they really took it to heart.
On the day of the pie drive, Peaks & Pies racked up 169 pies in just a couple of hours, filling three tables stacked four pies high.
The pies provided desserts to clients and their families who visit the Green Valley Community Food Bank. Clients had the choice of apple, cherry, pecan, blueberry, lemon meringue, peach, sweet potato and razzleberry (a combination of blueberries, cherries and apples) to add to their Thanksgiving meal.
To encourage residents, staff and friends to join in donating store-bought pies, Ginger Wood, community manager at The Peaks at Santa Rita, agreed to a soft pie in the face when the pie drive reached 200 donations.
Ginger was off the hook but was happy to add “a little sweetness to the dinners of the less fortunate in our community.”
The pie drive was a hit and received attention from the local paper. You can read the pie drive article.
The most common forms of volunteering include:
What can seniors do to help others? Think about your unique skills, creative abilities, personal interests or interesting hobbies – what would you like to share with others? Or perhaps there is a new skill you would like to learn, which you can then use to help others.
Volunteering can also be as simple as reading to kids, driving older seniors or spending time with someone who can’t leave their residence. Residents at Hawthorn Senior Living find all kinds of ways to stay active through volunteering – and you can, too.
If you’re looking for just the right place to start giving back as a senior volunteer, start locally. Check volunteer opportunities at your senior living communities, museums, local libraries, churches, food banks and community gardens.
The active lifestyle at The Peaks at Santa Rita includes a campus filled with fun neighbors, energetic employees and well-appointed apartments suited for vibrant seniors. Looking for somewhere near home? Check out our community finder tool to find a Hawthorn community near you!
Whether you choose to give in big or small ways, it’s all vitally important to your overall wellness. The possibilities are endless to make a lasting impact and touch lives in ways you may never even know.