A sixty-something Virginia woman operates a meals-on-wheels program tailored to the traditional diet of her ethnic group. A Maryland woman serves as a foster grandparent. A retired police officer is teaching at a lifelong learning center in Arizona.
What do these people have in common? According to cognitive neuroscientists at Northwestern University Medical School, when we give to others, “the brain’s pleasure and reward circuits rev into high gear.” In fact, their research shows, “neurologically, giving is roughly on a par with eating fudge,” with none of the weight gain or other negatives often associated with such an indulgence. So, what those three older adults have in common is that they are feeling very happy and satisfied.
One of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over is Senior Corps, which helps older adults use the skills and talents they’ve earned over the years — or develop new ones — while serving in volunteer activities within their community. Their website, www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/rsvp, is filled with great ideas and information. Those who join choose how, where and how often they want to serve, with commitments ranging from a few hours to over 40 hours per week.
Here at Simpson Meadows, we pride ourselves on creating a healthy and rewarding environment in which older adults can flourish and, yes, lead more happy and satisfying lives. Please give us a call; we’d love to help with any concerns you may have, including the need for our superb Memory Care programs. Call 484-364-3125 or visit www.simpsonmeadows.org today.
Where to begin? Volunteering ideas for everyone.
A call to your local library, hospital or school is a great place to start. And, one of the best websites for finding opportunities is www. volunteermatch.org. Meanwhile, this list may help direct your interest toward something hugely rewarding:
1. Working with animals at a shelter or program for service and companion animals.
2. Helping young people realize their full potential through mentoring or tutoring.
3. Addressing the housing and nutritional needs of the homeless.
4. Helping to protect the environment, through education, activism or local cleanup.