Volunteer benefits are endless, study finds

With a rapidly aging population, there is a growing need for volunteers to assist older adults in their community.

Whether it is delivering a meal, offering a ride or visiting an isolated senior, such volunteer opportunities not only benefit those who are served but also those who offer them.

“Volunteering allows older adults to share their wealth of knowledge and skills,” Sandy Markwood, chief executive officer of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, stated in a news release. “Studies show that the sense of purpose it provides can contribute to increased health and happiness.”

A recent study by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health is due to the personal sense of accomplishment gained from giving back.

And benefits go beyond the improvement of personal well-being. A total of 63.4 million volunteers contributed 8.1 billion hours of service in 2009, equaling an estimated dollar value of about $169 billion. With agency budgets tighter than ever, each volunteer-hour helps keep resources available to communities.

For additional information about how to use your skills and experience to benefit the community, call the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116.