Many seniors, once they’ve reached retirement age, end up finding new vocations as volunteers for charitable causes in their communities. This isn’t just because it’s something enjoyable to do – most seniors find fulfillment in helping others. Plus, it also helps you stay healthy, says Greg Lazzaro, Life Enrichment Director of Waterstone at the Circle.
“Studies show that seniors who choose to volunteer their time are happier and healthier than seniors who choose not to volunteer,” he says. “Since older adults often have time on their hands – and the desire to give back in meaningful ways – it’s no wonder that more and more adults are spending their golden years helping others.”
Volunteering has numerous benefits for seniors. It allows them to pass along their knowledge, interact with multigenerational peers and helps add to their purpose and fulfillment in life. Volunteering can also keep minds sharp, provides benefits to health and wellness, and is simply fun to do.
Seniors in Boston who are interested in volunteering are in luck – there are many amazing local organizations that are geared towards helping the community year-round. And they’re always looking for caring, dedicated and generous people to join in their efforts.
“We understand the importance of giving back to the community in which we live, which is why Waterstone at the Circle offers so many partnerships and opportunities to volunteer with local groups,” says Greg. “We also encourage our residents to choose causes that are meaningful to them personally, and we’ll work to help set up opportunities if we don't already have connections with one particular group or another. We’ll even help with transportation and coordination to make it as easy, enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.”
“Our residents are very much looking forward to getting back to their regular volunteer programs that they are part of throughout the year,” adds Greg. “Once social distancing protocols are lifted, there will be so many opportunities for seniors to serve the community, if they wish.”
Bostonians who are looking for ways to give back have a plethora of options. Here are just a few of the ways that seniors (and others) can serve their community.
Feed the world (or at least, your community).
Food insecurity is a real problem for many individuals in Boston, but fortunately, there are many great groups and organizations dedicated to fighting the good fight and providing good nutrition for citizens of all ages.
The American Red Cross of Massachusetts: Food and Nutrition Programs run food pantries across the state and assist individuals in crisis who are not otherwise able to afford a meal. Volunteers can help out by assembling food bags and distributing groceries. The Greater Boston Food Bank serves more than 56 million healthy meals each year to hungry citizens in East Massachusetts. Volunteers offer valuable help in the warehouse, packing, sorting and assembling food bags to hand out to needy Bostonians.
If you’re interested in serving meals, Community Servings, CommonCare Meals Ministry, and Haley House are soup kitchens and organizations that cook, prepare and serve meals to low-income individuals, community members and those suffering from chronic illness. Roll up your sleeves and help out by cooking, serving or delivering meals (and hope) to those in the community.
Provide a safe place to land.
As of January 2019, Massachusetts had an estimated 18,471 people experiencing homelessness. Organizations like Rosie’s Place, Pine Street Inn, Friends of Boston’s Homeless and Christopher’s Haven offer free or low-cost housing options to individuals in transition and children who have been diagnosed with cancer or are homeless. These shelters and housing options always need volunteers to help with meals, serve as receptionists, work in the food pantry, teach classes, throw parties or simply build meaningful connections with the people they serve.
Teach skills to a new generation.
Many seniors find fulfillment in passing along their knowledge and helping younger generations achieve their dreams. Organizations like Casserly House, which provides individuals with immigration services, adult education programs, and after-school programs, or the Prison Book Program, which is committed to providing free books to prisoners, offer support and services to underserved populations. The Boys and Girls Club of Boston is an excellent resource for Boston area youth and provides opportunities for coaching, tutoring and mentoring the younger generation.
Another great organization in the Boston area is Cradles to Crayons, which is focused on helping kids in need and provides them with toys, clothing, books and – of course – art supplies. The “Giving Factory Warehouse” offers opportunities for volunteers to inspect donated items and package them up to be distributed to children in the area.
Enrich the environment.
Perhaps your passion revolves around Mother Earth and beautifying our communities – both here and abroad. Groundwork Somerville is a local environmental group that cleans up parks and lakes and creates “green spaces” to beautify the area. If you have a green thumb, sign up to help with a gardening project. Or, if you simply enjoy being outside and getting a little exercise, you can volunteer to collect trash in the parks.
Bikes Not Bombs is a global organization (with a branch in Boston) that organizes bike drives and sends the donations to communities in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. These bikes help people living in these areas have reliable and sustainable transportation. You can help by running a bike drive or helping teach bike safety to the youth of Boston.
Help out our four-legged friends.
There’s just something wonderful about cuddling a kitten, petting a puppy or helping an animal in need. There’s a preponderance of animal shelters and organizations in the Boston area, so if you’re looking for a little fuzzy friend to love (or just want to help without taking one home yourself), contact the MSPCA or Animal Rescue League of Boston to see how you can help. These groups are always looking for volunteers to socialize and exercise the animals, keep the shelters clean, raise awareness or even become foster families to help save even more animals.
If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities in Boston, or if you’re wondering how a luxury senior living community like Waterstone at the Circle can help you live an active and fulfilled life, contact us today at 617.431.1880.
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.
Elegant Independent Living Apartments
Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.
Senior Living Supportive Services
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!