Seniors, especially those who are past retirement age, often experience difficulties in finding opportunities to interact socially on a daily basis. After a while, this lack of socialization can lead to feelings of isolation and lack of self-worth. It’s important for everyone, but especially seniors, to look for opportunities to engage, interact, and feel like the valuable member of society they are.
One way that seniors can find such opportunities is through volunteering. Active volunteering provides many benefits to the aging population, including helping them stay physically healthy, emotionally content, and mentally alert. Here’s a little bit more about why volunteer programs in retirement communities and independent living facilities are so important to senior health and wellbeing.
Research Shows That Volunteering Helps Seniors Stay Healthy
From a purely observational standpoint, it’s easy to see how volunteering and helping others can benefit a person’s physical and mental health. Volunteering can help you stay physically active, provides opportunities for learning experiences, and helps to foster the community bonds that are so essential for overall well being.
Turns out there’s research to back up all the perceived benefits of helping others. Recent research by the Corporation for National and Community Service has shown that volunteering is good for the health of volunteers, especially in the senior population. In this research that involved Senior Corps volunteers, 84% reported stable or improving health, while 78% reported fewer symptoms of depression.
How Helping Others Helps Seniors Stay Healthy
Volunteering provides unique opportunities for seniors to improve and maintain their health. For instance, volunteering can help reduce a senior’s stress level, which in turn has a positive effect on hypertensive related health conditions. Reduced levels of stress also combat diminishing cognitive function which can appear as we age.
Plus, there’s the simple fact that the more active a person is, the better state of health they’re generally in. Staying active helps improve circulation and cardiovascular health, but it also keeps muscles and joints flexible and in good working order. Seniors who maintain at least a baseline level of physical activity benefit from fewer injuries, which can often quickly lead to a downward spiral of physical decline.
Mental Health Benefits of Helping Others for Seniors
Mental health is a very critical component of overall health, especially for seniors. A senior’s mental outlook on their health and life in general can play a starring role in the aging process. There’s even some research indicating that contributing to the community and maintaining meaningful relationships with others can improve mental health and reduce the overall risk of dementia in the aging population.
At the end of the day, helping others makes us feel better about ourselves and the world we live in. Seniors, including those that live in retirement communities and nursing homes, are no exception to this rule.
A Home Where Life Enrichment Is a Priority
Volunteer opportunities can have a tremendous impact on a senior’s self esteem and overall quality of life. At Lexington Square, we’re committed to enhancing the lives of our residents and helping them find the path to self-enrichment through engaging opportunities. We invite you to contact or visit Lexington Square to learn more about our Independent living and assisted living facilities today.