Retirement and seniorhood are being completely reinvented these days … and it’s making a difference in the world for the better.
“Gone are the days and the idea that retirement means sitting quietly in a rocker on the porch, watching the world go by,” says Charles Benjamin, Executive Director of Harrogate, a premier active senior living community just minutes from Toms River and the Monmouth/Ocean County beaches. “Today’s seniors age 55 and up are living the best chapter of their lives to date. They’re healthy, active, taking on new challenges and exploring the world. They’re ready to live the life they want on their terms.”
For many, he says, this involves making a positive impact in their communities, whether financially, through their volunteering efforts or both.
“Volunteering their time and efforts is a very popular pastime for retirees because it provides purpose, self-worth and the knowledge that they’re doing something good,” he explains. “It’s a chance for older individuals to pass on the knowledge they’ve learned over the years, as well as do something that’s meaningful for them. Whether they’re volunteering for a charity, spending their time with their grandchildren or starting a new business, seniors are definitely making a difference for the better.”
“At Harrogate, we provide many opportunities for seniors to explore life and donate their time however they wish. It’s a key tenant of our approach to wellness, and since we’re located in a prime spot, our residents have their pick of volunteer programs,” he says.
Why Volunteering Is Beneficial for Seniors
Volunteering is obviously beneficial for the people and causes to which we donate our efforts. But did you know that volunteering also provides a personal benefit? This is especially true and beneficial for retirees, who may find themselves searching for purpose and meaning after leaving a career or facing an empty nest. Here are just some of the many benefits that volunteering provides seniors:
- A longer life. Many studies have shown that older adults – and people overall – who volunteer have a longer lifespan on average than individuals who don’t volunteer. Why is this? Because volunteering provides opportunities to improve physical, mental and emotional wellness all at once. These are tenants of full-person wellness, which are essential to nurture in order to age well and remain healthy as we get older.
- Better mental health. Volunteering helps seniors decrease their levels of anxiety, stress, anger and even depression. Having regular social contact while helping and working with others helps you develop a solid support system, boosts serotonin levels in your brain (yes, volunteering makes us happier) and improves overall mood.
- Improved physical health. Volunteering helps many seniors stay active, both mentally and physically. Seniors who volunteer generally get more exercise, eat better and sleep more deeply than people who don’t donate their efforts or time. All these things are incredibly essential for establishing and maintaining good physical health.
- Reduced pain levels. It turns out that volunteering is a better pain relief than a lot of OTC medications. According to 75 percent of seniors polled, volunteering has made a huge difference in their chronic pain levels.
Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors Around Ocean County
Seniors are making a difference the world over in seemingly countless ways. Here are just a few of the opportunities for seniors in the Ocean County, NJ area to donate and volunteer their time in the local community:
Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey is an interfaith nonprofit agency dedicated to providing free supportive services to older seniors and homebound individuals, enabling them to live independently and with dignity in their own homes. They are always seeking caring volunteers to help with daily tasks, provide medical transportation, go grocery shopping, fundraising and more.
The American Cancer Society’s mission is to free the world from cancer – and until that happens, they’re funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients and spreading the word about prevention. Their mission and work are primarily supported by volunteers who fundraise, spread the word and donate to the cause. The New Jersey chapter has a large number of events throughout the year that anyone can become involved in.
The HOPE Center (a.k.a. The House of HOPE of Ocean County) is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals and families in crisis meet their basic needs. The HOPE Center offers a variety of services, including a food pantry, community garden, utility and rental assistance, transportation and advocacy. Volunteers work and help this organization by serving in the food pantry, caring for the garden, writing grants, fundraising and assisting in the office.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Ocean County serves as a voice in the courtroom for abused and neglected foster children. CASA volunteers meet with the child’s family members, doctors, teachers and foster parents to ensure the judge in the family court system is aware of all the facts to make the best determination for the child’s future. Volunteers form a special, one-on-one relationship with their assigned children, become a role model and truly make a difference in the children’s lives.
Fulfill is the largest food bank in Ocean and Monmouth counties, feeding millions of families each day. Fulfill has a network of 289 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day programs, group homes and more that they work closely with to feed our neighbors in need. Volunteers can help by organizing food drives, packing and sorting donations, helping with office work and mailings, doing tax returns, helping out at mobile pantries and with our feeding program partners, and so much more.
In October, the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk occurs in the Toms River area. This event links together many businesses in the community to raise funds for breast cancer research. They’re currently seeking out volunteers for this year’s event.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the Alzheimer’s Association® of New Jersey’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Currently, they are seeking volunteers to fundraise, help with preparation, and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
These are just a handful of the countless ways that seniors volunteer and make a difference in the world today. If you’re a senior with a passion for helping and the drive and desire to share your talents, don’t wait. Find an organization, business or individual in your area that could use your talents and start donating your time. Not only will you help your community – but you’ll be a healthier, happier, more well-rounded individual because of it!
This Is What Worry Less. Live More! Looks Like
Located near Toms River, New Jersey, Harrogate offers a worry-free, fulfilling and experience-rich life. Here, you’ll be free of the hassles of homeownership while having access to all of the best that life has to offer. From opportunities to engage, enrich and challenge yourself to the peace of mind of future care, socialization and so much more.
No matter what your needs may be, we can meet them, ensuring you are worry-free for years to come. With our Life Care, you can enjoy independent living, home health care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation for one entrance fee and a monthly fee that covers everything our lifestyle has to offer.
Worry Less and Live More at Harrogate!
Call for information at 866-606-0178 or visit our website.