Retirement doesn’t mean retiring from life or the activities you enjoy. The secret to a happy retirement is to stay active doing things that you love and that are meaningful to you.
Retirement opens up many opportunities to senior citizens than may not have been available during the working years. The freedom from employer time restraints, in itself, opens up many unique and exciting possibilities to senior citizens and retirees.
Activities and pursuits, such as traveling for example, that may have been difficult or impossible to fit in during the working years may now be much easier to fit into your schedule as a retired senior. Spending time with loved ones and pursing your interests and hobbies can make retirement and the senior years a joyful time.
Senior citizens and retirees can use retirement as an opportunity to further their education by going back to school and taking classes toward a degree or for enjoyment. Some particularly enterprising senior citizens and retirees even start their own businesses after retiring from working for someone else. Other senior citizens, through choice or necessity, may retire from full time work and take up part time employment.
An activity that many senior citizens and retirees may have overlooked is volunteer work. Volunteer work can be a source of deep satisfaction to retired senior citizens. Weather you spend an hour a week, or several hours a day doing volunteer work, this can fulfill many needs both for the volunteer and those they are benefiting. For the volunteer, volunteering helps to provide a sense of purpose, usefulness and self-satisfaction.
Senior citizens and retirees have a wealth of wisdom, knowledge and experience that is often underutilized and under appreciated. Volunteering can be a good way to put to use the skills and wisdom you have learned over a lifetime for the benefit of others. Think about your unique skills, experiences and abilities and how you can use them to help others through volunteer work.
The old adage about giving being better than receiving is especially true in volunteer work for senior citizens and retirees. Even when the volunteer work itself is taxing, difficult or frustrating it is still rewarding. Knowing the good you are doing can bring a sense of inner peace and fulfillment. You also have the benefit of making new friends and expanding your social circle by getting to know other volunteers within your chosen organization or field of volunteer work.
It is especially emotionally rewarding when volunteer work is of the type that helps with people’s immediate needs. With this type of volunteer activity you get the instant gratification of seeing the impact of your volunteer work first hand. If there is a particular organization or cause near to your heart, this is a good place to start finding volunteer activities. You could directly contact the organization you’re interested in and ask about volunteer opportunities.
If you don’t know of your local volunteer opportunities, you can easily find them by speaking with representatives of various local social services programs. There are many various types of volunteer opportunities and different levels of commitment and involvement.
Do not let poor health or only being able to volunteer a limited amount of time stop you from volunteering, there is a volunteering position that is suitable for almost everyone despite of their limitations. Many organizations have specific positions that are uniquely suited to seniors and retirees.
Some volunteering ideas: (this is obviously just a few of many volunteering opportunities)
–Organizations that build homes for the needy: Volunteers may assist in fund raising, practical building work, cleaning up, providing snacks and meals for the workers, and other volunteer opportunities.
-At Hospitals: Volunteers may visiting with patients, be a candy striper, man the reception desk, rock babies and other volunteer opportunities. (This may vary by the hospital.)
–Food banks or pantries for the needy: Volunteers may help collect donations of food, assist in fund raising and other volunteer opportunities.
-Soup kitchens: Volunteers may help cook, serve meals, clean up after meals and other volunteer opportunities.
-Organizations that provide meals for the needy, infirm or elderly such as “Meals on Wheels”: Volunteers may help prepare meals, assist in delivering them and other volunteer opportunities.
–Health organizations for different health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s to name a few: Volunteers may help with fund raising, community education, and other volunteer opportunities
-Abused women’s homes or centers:(This may require some screening and special training.) Volunteers may help by staffing a hot-line, fund raising and other volunteer opportunities
-Rape crisis hot-lines:(This may require some screening and special training) Volunteers may help by staffing a hot-line, fund raising and other volunteer opportunities.
-Suicide prevention hot-lines: (This may require some screening and special training) Volunteers may help by staffing a hot-line, fund raising and other volunteer opportunities.
-Nursing homes: Volunteers may help by visiting the residents, providing entertainment, teaching a class, hairdressing or barbering services for the residents, as well as other volunteer opportunities.
-Big Brothers or Big Sisters or similar organizations: (This may require some screening and special training)Volunteers may help by providing companionship and guidance to a youth by spending time with them and doing activities with them.
Whatever volunteer activity you, as a retired senior may chose, know that you will benefit both yourself and others greatly by sharing your abilities, wisdom, time and love with others. Seniors and retirees can fill a vital need in society by giving of themselves through volunteer work. Volunteer work truly fulfills the adage, “You get what you sow.”