Volunteering is related with well-being and self-reported health.1
- Especially beneficial is consistent volunteering.
- It’s been also shown that people who are less socially integrated benefit the most from volunteering.2
- Specifically, for older people volunteering is connected to slower decline of self-rated health and functioning level.
- Engaging in a volunteering role (being a volunteer, helping out someone else) can lower depressive symptoms.3
- Volunteering can improve life satisfaction and enhanced social support.4
Tips and recommendations
- Look for a way you can be helpful as a volunteer, in something that you are passionate about, have skills to contribute to, and that you can enjoy and find meaning in.
- Browse various organizations and types of activities and find one suitable to your interests and skills and values.
- Volunteering can be done in a wide range of activities (teaching, collecting food/other resources, organizing community events, etc.) and have different levels of physical and mental difficulty.
- Volunteer organizations also work with many specific groups (kids, foreigners, cancer patients, homeless people, single parents, ettc).
Working as a volunteer can bring new impulses to your life like meeting other volunteers and those in need, sharing your knowledge and skills or acquiring new ones.
- Von Bonsdorff, M. B., & Rantanen, T. (2011). Benefits of formal voluntary work among older people. A review. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 23(3), 162–169. doi:10.1007/bf03337746
- Piliavin, J. A., & Siegl, E. (2007). Health Benefits of Volunteering in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 48(4), 450–464. doi:10.1177/002214650704800408
- Lum, T. Y., & Lightfoot, E. (2005). The Effects of Volunteering on the Physical and Mental Health of Older People. Research on Aging, 27(1), 31–55. doi:10.1177/0164027504271349
- Anderson, N. D., Damianakis, T., Kröger, E., Wagner, L. M., Dawson, D. R., … Cook, S. L. (2014). The benefits associated with volunteering among seniors: A critical review and recommendations for future research. Psychological Bulletin, 140(6), 1505–1533. doi:10.1037/a0037610