Tag Archives: Volunteering

Age is only a number, right? Chances are you know someone who is a “young”
60 but know others that are “not-so-young” 60-year-olds; what is the difference? It could be any number of things ranging from overall health and wellbeing to mental attitude.

A positive attitude can go far in helping you remain young at heart even as you age. Here are five ways tips to help you stay “young” and vibrant:
1. Don’t close yourself off to new opportunities. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t try new things. Join a dinner club, take up golf, get out to a movie with friends on a weekly basis, go out and play Bingo, volunteer for your favorite charity. Staying home and not stretching yourself mentally (and perhaps physically) is a certain way to “feel your age.”
2. Your health should be a number one priority. From eating healthy meals to getting daily exercise the best way to remain vibrant is by keeping mind and body active. Join a senior yoga class, ask your doctor what kind of exercises are right for you at your current level of health and mobility. Get out and take a short walk after dinner. If you’re not accustomed to being active, it may be a habit you will have to foster, but your mind and body will thank you.
3. Let go of anger and hostility. Let’s face it, we all have issues with family that simmers until it gets to a boiling point. Keeping anger and resentment bottled up inside of you is damaging to your overall health and stresses both body and mind. Whether you learn to forgive and forget or not get involved in a situation that places you with a person with whom you’re angry, you need to find a way to set that anger free so you can remain healthy and stress-free.
4. Nurture those relationships that bring you joy. If you have children and grandchildren, make spending time with them a priority. In today’s busy world, it’s not always easy to get everyone together for a family meal, but ask your family about doing just that, even if it’s just once a month. For those times when you can’t physically be together, why not set up a Skype chat or even “eat dinner together” via webcam. If you’re not tech savvy ask your children to set you up with a computer that is easy to use and one that you can use to have web-chats with friends and family. There’s nothing better than seeing the smiling faces of your family to break up isolation and bring you joy!
5. Volunteer your time and talents. Do you have a unique talent that you could share with others? Perhaps you’re a whiz at knitting or woodworking or maybe you’re a writer or a dog trainer; take those skills to the public and teach a class at a local senior center or in an adult learning class. If you don’t have a particular talent, then take a class and learn something new. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or a charitable organization whose mission you support. In addition to feeling great about giving back, getting out and socializing is simply great for body, mind and soul.

What can you do today to stay young? If you’re a caregiver, what can you do to help enhance your parents’ lives so they can recapture their youth and remain vibrant? Consider these ideas or come up with things that you know you or your loved one will enjoy to stay young-at-heart.

Remain Active, Involved In Golden Years

When retirement rolls around, many seniors are unsure of what to do with all of their free time; as a caregiver or family member, it’s crucial that you help your elderly family member find ways to remain active and involved. Volunteering is a gratifying venue for many retired individuals as it gives them a way to give back to the community and gets them out of the house. Remaining active and involved and having a purpose in life, benefits your loved one in both mental and physical ways as well.

Studies have been conducted to show the benefits of volunteering. Consider talking to your parents and determine if volunteering might be an avenue for them to consider as it could enhance their life and allow them to age in place for many more years. In addition to volunteering and remaining active, having a home medical alert device for your aging loved ones also allows them to remain independent in their own home.

Here are the benefits volunteers reap:

  • It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Because volunteers report a higher satisfaction and quality of life than those individuals who don’t remain involved, they are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (according to researchers at the University Medical Center in Chicago).
  • Volunteering can lower the mortality rate in senior citizens. A study in the Journal of Gerontology showed that “those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not, even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender, and ethnicity;” this, alone, should be a motivating factor for volunteering.
  • Remaining physically active lessens the risk of trips and falls and prevents frailty. In a report by UCLA, it was shown that productive activities “prevent the onset of frailty.” Frailty is marked by physicians as being low energy, strength, low physical activity and weight loss.

Remaining active and involved helps improve brain function.

  • Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment and helps improve social skills. If your aging loved ones are involved with their peers, they will find a sense of community among them and that will enhance their retirement years.

If your retired parents are feeling at loose ends, you can help them uncover volunteer opportunities by starting with their hobbies and interests. If your parents have a particular skill (carpentry, crocheting, cooking etc.) that they could pass along to others, look into adult living centers as a place to share the skills they possess. Look into volunteer opportunities at local museums, theaters, schools, senior centers, youth organizations and places of worship. The volunteering activity should be one that your parents enjoy and look forward to so make certain it is a good fit for both them and the organization.