Retirees are volunteering and serving food to a little girl with Garden Spot Village Logo over the photo.

Volunteer Organizations for Retirees

April 18, 2023

As you enter into retirement, you may notice you’ve got a lot more time on your hands. A great way to enjoy this extra time is by volunteering in your community. You’ll better the community around you, and you’ll make positive changes in your own life, as well. Check out the common benefits of volunteer work as well as a list of some of the best volunteer opportunities for retirees below.

Benefits of Volunteering When Retired

Volunteering is a fun way to pass the time and make a difference in your community, but it can also provide you with so much more. Retirees who actively volunteer experience a variety of benefits, from improving physical and mental health to igniting new passions and staying social.

Improves Your Mental Health

Actively engaging in the community improves your brain’s cognitive function, which can help lower your risk of developing dementia and other health problems. As you participate in volunteer programs or other community activities, you’ll start to build feelings of happiness and positivity, which improves your mental health. 

Gives You a Sense of Purpose

After living in a set routine for so many years, it’s now time to find a new purpose. You no longer have responsibilities at your job, so retiring can make you think, what next? When you volunteer, you can find your drive and passion for helping others and achieving team goals again. With regular volunteering, you can begin to create a structured schedule again if that is something you enjoy.

Allows You to Meet New People and Stay Sociable 

During retirement, you may find yourself downsizing to a new home, potentially in a new neighborhood, city or even state. Making new friends may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! When you volunteer, you’ll meet a group of people who share common interests with you, making it much easier to build relationships and establish new friendships with like-minded peers. 

Getting involved in volunteer groups that meet weekly or monthly is a great way to make sure you’re getting out of the house to interact with others.

Keeps You Physically Active

Volunteering can help your mental health as well as your physical health. Volunteering will help you get out of the house and actively move your body. Some volunteer programs, such as Habitat for Humanity, may be more physically demanding than others, so make sure you understand the physical requirements of your volunteer work before beginning. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends older adults get 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each week. This 150-minute goal can break down to 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. You can easily surpass this goal with regular volunteer work that gets you moving.

Enables You to Explore Your Passions and Learn New Skills

Do you have a passion you never had the chance to explore? Now’s the time to do all the things you couldn’t do before. Spend time with the adorable animals at your local animal shelter or help teach kids your favorite painting technique at a nearby youth center. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities that align with all kinds of interests, from art and business to cooking and exercise, so find the right fit for you.

Some volunteer opportunities may even teach you new skills. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen may teach you new ways of cooking, or working with Habitat for Humanity can teach you how to build. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to garden, local community gardens also need volunteers to help plant and maintain the area. The opportunities are endless to learn new skills.

Bridges the Generation Gap

Some volunteer opportunities will give you the chance to work with people from other generations. Connecting with different generations can bring the community closer together and build understanding between different groups of people. You can share your life experiences and mentor the younger generations while they can offer you a new perspective on life.

Best Volunteer Organizations for Retirees

There are so many great volunteer options available. Consider your interests and the amount of time you’re willing to spend volunteering. Also, consider the physical demand of different volunteer positions. The following organizations are popular volunteer options for retirees.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity helps those in need of safe and affordable housing. This organization has a large retiree volunteer population. Volunteers at Habitat for Humanity work alongside the people and families they help. From repairs to complete house construction, you can see how your help positively impacts the lives of others. 

If you’ve never built a house before, no worries — there is no experience required. The organization also offers other ways to get involved that do not require physical building if that’s more your speed.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels ensures older adults, especially those 85 and older, are receiving the comfort, company and nutritious meals they need. As a volunteer, you’ll pick up the meals from a central location and drop them off at the recipient’s home. You are also encouraged to have a quick chat to check in on the recipients and provide brief companionship. 

How frequently you volunteer is up to you, so you can always plan around your own schedule. The Meals on Wheels volunteer program is a great way to get active in your community without committing to long volunteer hours.

Humane Societies and Animal Shelters

Are you an animal lover? It’s likely your local animal shelter is in need of volunteers. You can help provide companionship to the animals or assist with clerical work like answering the phone or filing documents. Do something good for your body and mind and help the community while you get to play with cute animals — what’s not to love?

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Niche volunteer opportunities can vary from location to location, but there are a few options you’re sure to find regardless of your location.

Some of the best volunteer opportunities for older adults include:

  • Local, state or national parks: Enjoy nature and volunteer at a park near you. Some volunteer positions may require some experience or training, but there are options for volunteers of all backgrounds and skill levels. 
  • Volunteering with children: There are a variety of ways you can connect with children in your community. From after-school programs, tutoring, pediatric hospital volunteer work and foster grandparent programs, you can find a range of ways to help the children in your area. Keep in mind it’s likely you’ll need to undergo a background check before you can work with children.
  • Volunteering with veterans: Show your appreciation for our troops by directly volunteering to help the veterans and active servicemen and women in your area. Volunteer services can range from greeting troops as they return home or providing assistance for homeless veterans.
  • Food banks: Help feed your community when you volunteer at your local food bank or soup kitchen. You can work directly in the food bank, or you can work to provide fresh produce or other food for the organization.
  • Volunteer tour guide: Are you passionate about music, art or history in your area? You can share your passion or hobby when you become a tour guide. Universities, historical sites, museums and other private and public organizations have volunteer opportunities for enthusiastic individuals to become tour guides for a specific location or topic.

Embrace the Joy of Retirement at Garden Spot Village

Are you looking to start the next chapter of your life in a community that values volunteer work and active living as much as you do? At Garden Spot Village, we have a group of residents who see the value in volunteer work and come together to make change — both on and off-campus. Learn more about all the great opportunities Garden Spot Village has to offer, and contact us today

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