Volunteering for Seniors and Retirees Often Makes a Great Fit
In many ways, life is really just beginning for seniors and retirees. Hopefully, with your kids on their own and your job in the rearview mirror, you will finally have the time to do the things that will enrich your soul, rather than just your savings account.
If you’re ready to get out there and start giving back to your community, or you know a senior loved one or retiree who could get a lot out of volunteering, read on to discover ten great opportunities that seniors and retirees can try to give a little back to their community and invigorate their spirits.
1. Peace Corps
The Peace Corps isn’t just for kids looking to find themselves after college. This non-profit organization does a tremendous amount of good all over the world, and nearly 10 percent of its volunteers are 50 years old or older. Older Peace Corps volunteers are often looked to as team leaders and can contribute a great deal of wisdom and life experience to Peace Corps operations.
If the idea of going to a third-world nation as an older person scares you, don’t worry, over 90 percent of today’s Peace Corps volunteers have access to cell phones and the Internet among the modern comforts that they can enjoy.
2. Habitat for Humanity
A well-known non-profit group that brings homes to people who need them and repairs homes for people who have them but can’t afford to fix them, Habitat for Humanity is a great way for seniors to get out and get involved with the community.
Habitat for Humanity has many retired volunteers working in disaster relief zones and other vital areas, and retirees are the heart of the “RV Care-A-Vanners,” a program of volunteers who drive their own RVs to help out with home-building needs.
3. Helping Veterans
Veterans have done so much for our country, and as a retiree, you have a chance to give something back. Whether you were a veteran yourself and want to help those who have found themselves in less fortunate circumstances than your own, or you simply want to do your part to serve your country, helping veterans is a great way to do it.
Look into the Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service Program of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, or VAVS, which supports wounded veterans through the VA medical care system and provides services to homeless veterans, too.
4. Helping Kids
Maybe your own grandkids are far away, or you don’t have grandchildren in your life but still have a lot of love and guidance to share. There are still plenty of opportunities to work with and help children, including the Senior Corps Foster Grandparent Program, hospital volunteer programs, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
5. Tour Guide
If you’ve lived in a certain area for years, then chances are good that you probably know it pretty well. If you can still drive, providing tour guide services for your city can be a great, low-pressure way for you to help visitors get to know what’s so great about your home.
If you’d prefer not to drive, volunteering at a park or museum is another great way you can impart the knowledge that you’ve collected over the years to a new generation.
6. English Teacher
English is one of the most commonly used languages across the world and there are still plenty of people who need help learning to speak it, read it and write it. Whether it’s in another country or in your own community, your English skills can help change lives.
7. Hunger Relief
While many seniors benefit from hunger-relief programs, they can contribute to them, too. Help your fellow seniors and those who have fallen on hard times by being a part of a hunger relief program like Meals on Wheels.
8. Disaster Relief
When disaster strikes, relief personnel tend to need all the help they can get. If you’ve got medical experience, that’s fantastic, but you don’t need it to help with disaster relief. Disaster relief organizations welcome volunteers for not only medicine and nursing, but also handling supplies, doing administrative tasks, providing comfort to victims, and so much more.
9. Politics and Seniors? You Bet!
Some people may feel that being politically active is only for the young, but most of the people who actually decide policy are probably closer to your age. You don’t have to run for office yourself (although you could), as there are plenty of other ways to volunteer politically, from getting the word out about your candidate, to hosting a meeting for political organizers.
10. Animal Shelters
If you’ve had a pet before, then you already know how rewarding relationships with animals can be for both pet and human companion. Volunteer at your local shelter and you’ll help to protect local pets while you get a lot of love in return.