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Fulfillment in Your Golden Years: How Volunteerism Can Play a Part

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring out something else – volunteers. In the United States, April is National Volunteer Month – 30 days dedicated to recognizing the importance of volunteering and honoring the contribution volunteers make to our society. It turns out that volunteering isn’t just good for our communities ... it’s also good for the individual.

“According to studies, seniors who volunteer their time have lower levels of disability and higher levels of well-being compared to seniors who choose not to volunteer,” says Terri Geppner, Director of Community Relations at Aspired Living® of La Grange. “Volunteering has social, mental, and physical benefits, especially for seniors, because they have so much time on their hands. They are really the living example of it being better to give than to receive.”

People of all ages enjoy participating in activities and events that bring fulfillment, purpose and meaning to their lives, and volunteering checks all those boxes, says Terri. “At Aspired Living of La Grange, we understand the importance that volunteering plays in helping our residents live a high quality of life, so we actively seek out opportunities that are inspiring, enjoyable and beneficial. Volunteering is a major part of life here, and we encourage everyone to get out and do their part.”

Benefits of Volunteering For Seniors

1. Volunteerism builds stronger communities.

In 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which mobilized more than 135,000 volunteers to provide assistant, counseling, skills training and more to their local populations. The work done by those volunteers helped 1.1 million people gain employment skills and improve their lives. When our community thrives, we all thrive – and that’s something seniors can feel really good about.

2. It allows seniors to pass along their hard-earned knowledge and skills.

Seniors have a wealth of experience that needs to be passed on to the younger generations. Not only does it do a service, but it helps seniors feel needed, fulfilled and knowledgeable. Think about skills that you have that you enjoy teaching to others. It can be anything from woodworking to baking to tax preparation and more. By volunteering your time, you can help organizations save money (since you’re helping them pro bono) and pass on your knowledge to a new generation.

3. It provides multigenerational interaction.

It’s important for seniors to be around younger people – and it benefits those younger people to be around older folks, too. By interacting with the youths of today, seniors can share important life lessons and pass along knowledge they’ve gained throughout the years. On the other hand, younger people can provide seniors with new ways of looking at life, share their knowledge of technology and provide a fresh dose of energy into a senior’s life. All generations have something to learn from each other, and volunteering together is a great way to make those connections and knowledge transfer happen.

4. It helps seniors feel valued and fulfilled.

One of the seven dimensions of wellness is “occupational,” which means that finding fulfilling work is a key tenant to aging well. The nice part about volunteering is that you choose to do it – which means you can get involved in the things that really matter to you. After a lifetime of working in a career for the money, how amazing is it to do work that is truly meaningful to you?

5. Volunteering keeps your mind sharp and agile.

Volunteering has been shown to reduce the incidence of depression, boredom and stress for seniors. Best of all, volunteering keeps brains active, which helps reduce the risk of developing dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have shown that volunteering doesn’t just keep brains in good shape – it can also increase cognitive abilities and brain functions. In other words, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

6. It helps increase physical health.

Besides mental benefits, volunteering helps seniors get out and be active – with many positive results. It provides regular exercise, helps reduce blood pressure, improves strength and prevents frailty. Getting enough physical activity is important for remaining healthy no matter what age you are, so whether you’re volunteering as a companion, walking around the neighborhood or coaching a sports activity, you’re getting a healthy level of fitness.

7. It helps prevent isolation.

Many seniors spend the majority of their time at home – which, frankly, can get pretty boring. Social isolation leads to depression, which may be why so many seniors suffer from it. Volunteering encourages seniors to get out and interact with others, which is a sure-fire way of reducing the incidence of depression. Senior volunteers end up spending more time in their communities and less time at home, which allows them to increase their social circles and make new friends.

8. Volunteering is enjoyable, plain and simple.

Volunteering allows seniors to try new things, leave a legacy, connect with others and do something that they enjoy. What’s not to love about that? Finding fulfillment and happiness in our daily lives is one of the best ways to age well, have a high quality of life and make our senior years rewarding. Being part of something larger than yourself makes you feel good – and what better reason is there to volunteer than that?

“We want you to be excited about life at Aspired Living of La Grange, and our team is here to guide you on the path you want to live,” says Terri. “Our award-winning VIVA! SM programs provide so many opportunities to live the life you want, enjoy your time and do things that make life so much more enjoyable. From volunteer options outside and inside our community to helping you find new hobbies and interests, we believe that this is your time...and we want to help you be excited each and every day.”

Live Well at Aspired Living® of La Grange.

When you step through the doors of our Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Support community, you’ll notice something different. Something exciting. Something exceptional! At Aspired Living® of La Grange, we believe that moving to senior living is something that should be supported and celebrated.

Wellness is at the heart of everything we do at Aspired Living of La Grange. From VIVA!SM, award-winning programming that inspires each resident every day to live engaged, connected and fulfilled to VIVA! Plus, which brings coordinated healthcare right to our residents' apartments, we do all we can to ensure that our residents Live Well. Age Well. Be Well!

Every day is a new opportunity to grow, laugh, share, learn and thrive. Gather with friends for delicious, nutritious meals in our all-day dining room, or enjoy a lively happy hour in our wine bar. Relax with a massage or spa treatment in our spa and salon. Stay fit and healthy with our fitness center, or spend the day painting in our art studio. It’s all up to you!

Offering delicious dining options, award-winning VIVA!  programming by Pathway to Living®, programming designed to inspire the whole person and so much more, Aspired Living of La Grange provides seniors with the best of both worlds – the exceptional care they require, and the inspiring lifestyle they deserve

To learn more about our community or to reserve your apartment, give us a call at 708-286-6415.