5 Benefits for Seniors Who Volunteer

Although volunteering is fulfilling, there are other perks to giving back

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- Posted on Mar 19, 2019

A senior volunteer works at a food bank

Sun City Center Emergency Squad members find that helping their neighbors is tremendously fulfilling. Susan Spady, volunteer coordinator at Good Samaritan Society–Hastings Village in Nebraska, isn’t surprised by that. We talked to her about the joys and benefits of volunteering:

1. A sense of purpose “My senior volunteers wake up with a sense of purpose,” Spady says. “They take ownership of a particular project, such as tending our flower gardens. That sense of purpose is healthy; it’s what keeps us living longer. There’s a lot of loss as you get older, but serving others can be your saving grace. It gets you out of yourself.”

2. Social interaction and friendship The Hastings Village knitting group was started by Helen Wigert, whose husband had passed away. “Helen loves to knit and wanted to teach others,” Spady says. “She brought in all these ladies, and it’s become a wonderful support group as some have also lost their husbands. They talk and bond while they knit. They’ve made 112 blankets in the past year and given them to patients at the cancer clinic in town and to survivors of domestic violence.”

3. A new (or renewed) calling “I’ve read that if you want to do God’s work, find out where the need is and jump in,” Spady says. “A woman named Eunice Turnquist, for example, has a real gift for connecting Scripture verses to daily life. She led a Bible study in her building but kept being called by God to our nursing unit. Eunice didn’t want to do it. Then I needed someone to lead a Bible study in the nursing unit, and she knew God was telling her to take her love for his Word to a new area.”

4. Brain-boosting variety Doing a variety of things keeps your mind sharp and agile, and there’s a wide range of activities available if you’re interested in volunteering. “Call different agencies in your area,” Spady suggests. “Sometimes you have to try something to find out whether it’s a good fit for you. Do you like kids? Cooking? Music? Reading? You don’t have to volunteer with a huge organization. How about just calling or visiting someone who can’t get out much?”

5. Feeling valued and appreciated “When you give of yourself, you will find that you get more than you give,” Spady says. “There’s a special sense of fulfillment that comes with using your God-given talents to help someone else.”

Visit good-sam.com/guideposts to catch up with the Hastings Village knitting group and the bunch of volunteers who keep a local diner running.

For more inspiring stories, subscribe to Guideposts magazine.

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