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The benefits of volunteering when you’re retired

What are you doing after work? Spending time with grandkids, travelling, and trying out new hobbies are probably on the list. But volunteering is also a popular choice with retirees looking to make a meaningful contribution. And giving back isn’t just good for the people you’re helping – it’s good for you too. A recent study shows being a volunteer is good for your mental health, and the benefits are even greater if you’re an older adult.

Retirees are in demand as volunteers – after all, you’ve got skills and knowledge honed by years of work and life experience, and you’re able to commit time during the week when others are at work. There are so many options when it comes to volunteering – your time is needed everywhere. You can help kids build literacy. Take care of animals in need. Help out at the local hospital. Donate your time to a women’s shelter. Help raise money for a cause that means something to you.

Opportunities for pet lovers
Love animals? Try your local shelter or a rescue organization. More active volunteers can walk dogs, while those who are less mobile could help with small animals.

Find your niche
If you’re not sure what you want to do, what options are out there, or you simply want to work where there’s the greatest need, try signing up with an organization. Some communities match volunteers aged 55+ with meaningful opportunities like the Foster Grandparents program, where older adults work as one-on-one tutors and mentors for young people with special needs. Volunteers are also involved in the Senior Companions program, where they help home-bound seniors live independently.

Put your skills to work
Are you good with people? Great with social media? Do you have an eye for wrapping gifts in an attractive way? There’s an organization out there that can put each of those abilities to good use.

There’s no shortage of options

If you have writing or design skills, you can help a charity with their marketing or annual report, or give job seekers a hand with their resumes.

Love talking to people? Sign up with local groups for events that need man power.

Have a passion for fashion? Work in a local charity consignment shop.

Want to share your knowledge? Get involved with a mentorship program where you can pass on what you’ve learned to people just starting out.

Enjoy driving? See if a food bank or a meal delivery service near you is looking for drivers.

Love to cook? Sign up to train community chefs or teach families about nutrition.

There are plenty of opportunities to harness your skills for the benefit of those in need. As you know, retirement isn’t about sitting around. It’s an active, vital phase of life, when you finally have the time to devote to causes and interests that may once have taken a back seat to work and family obligations.

All you need to do is get involved.

This article is based on “A Guide to Volunteering in Retirement,” an article that originally appeared in Talking Retirement, a resource for Manulife customers in Hong Kong and across Asia. Portions taken from the post made to By Tamara George September 29, 2016

Source: As posted to Posted on September 29, 2016 by Tamara George