Although Millennials have overtaken the Baby Boomers as the largest generation alive, Boomers – the 77 million individuals born between 1945 and 1964 – are the generation that’s making the most difference in the world – at least when it comes to donating their time and efforts.
“The Boomer generation is one of the most highly educated, worldly and active generations we’ve ever seen,” says Jake Quigley, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “They’ve lived through and initiated huge societal change throughout their lifetimes, and that’s not changing as they enter their golden years. They’re redefining what it means to be a senior, as well as what retirement looks like.”
Besides tackling new challenges, taking on new careers and reinventing themselves following retirement, Boomers are also focused on making a difference through volunteering. Their contributions to their communities and the world are why August was designated as Boomers Making a Difference Month.
“This month, we celebrated individuals who are changing the face of aging and making a difference,” says Jake. “We’ve seen that our residents at Waterstone at the Circle are motivated to volunteer and make a difference in their communities, and we’re excited to help them find ways to donate their time, knowledge and passions to give back.”
The Benefits of Volunteering
We all know that it’s better to give than to receive, and most of us have felt the joy and fulfilment that comes from donating our time and efforts to valuable causes. Besides making us feel good emotionally, there are actual, real, physical benefits to volunteering – many of which can increase the quality of life for seniors especially. Here are just a few of the benefits that seniors can reap from donating their time to organizations and efforts they believe in:
- An increased lifespan. Studies have shown that adults aged 50 and older who volunteer have, on average, a longer lifespan than their counterparts who don’t volunteer. In fact, it’s been suggested that volunteering on a regular basis can increase your lifespan by an average of five years.
- Better mental health. Volunteering gets you out, gets you active and gets you socializing with a wide range of people. Staying social and keeping brains active have been shown to improve mental health, lessen depression and lower the risk of developing cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Improved physical health. Seniors who volunteer report having higher levels of activity, better physical health and lower levels of disability and health issues than individuals who chose not to donate their efforts or time.
- Lower pain levels. Pain is a problem as we get older, but volunteering can help control chronic pain – or, at least, that’s what 75 percent of seniors in a recent poll said.
Ways Seniors Are Making a Difference
If you’re inspired to volunteer and make a difference in the world and our community, here are some options that are perfect for Boomers:
School volunteer. Local schools are always looking for volunteers to serve as mentors, reading partners, fundraisers, classroom aides and more. By volunteering, Boomers can help improve the quality of public education in their local school system. You can contact your local schools directly, or if you aren’t sure where to start, contact Communities in Schools, a national program with 181 local affiliates in 25 states that coordinates the efforts of volunteers across the country.
Business mentor. Even after they’ve retired, many Baby Boomers have great business knowledge that they’re eager to pass on. Instead of becoming an official consultant, Boomers can donate their time to small businesses and start-ups that could use their knowledge and expertise. Contact SCORE, a non-profit organization that harnesses the experience of 13,000 retired business executives to offer free consulting services to help small business owners develop, market and manage new products and services.
Foster grandparent. The Foster Grandparent Program is a wonderful way for seniors to share their love and improve the lives of children in their communities. Sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the program is open to anyone 55 or older who wants to be a role model, mentor, teacher and friend to children who need extra help in school, support through medical procedures, or just someone to talk to.
Senior companion. It’s not just the young’uns who could use the help of the Boomers. Energetic and active boomers can donate their time to older counterparts who aren’t as mobile or active. The Senior Companions Program of the Corporation for National and Community Service matches folks who are 55 and older with elderly individuals and families in the community who can use some extra help. These are non-medical volunteer positions, meaning you’ll spend your time helping with chores, transportation or simply being a friend to someone in need.
Soup kitchen volunteer. Soup kitchens and food banks provide free, healthy meals and groceries to millions of Americans each year, helping ensure that poverty doesn’t affect a family’s ability to get nutritious, healthy and delicious food. Check with your community to see what options are available at organizations, churches and other nonprofits.
Volunteer builder. Habitat for Humanity has long been a great place for Boomers to donate their time. The organization is always looking for qualified individuals with construction, carpentry, architecture or design experience to assist work crews across the country. Even if you don’t have expertise in these areas, you can still donate your time and be a “gofer” on the job site.
“There are countless opportunities for Boomers to make a difference in today’s society,” says Jake. “If you have the desire and a passion, you’ll find so many organizations and groups who would love the assistance of your knowledge and expertise. It’s never too late to start volunteering.”
Luxury Senior Living in Boston
Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it's a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.
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As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.
The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.
Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring . . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premier Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!