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Why Volunteering Helps Seniors

18 September, 2018

senior career
, Volunteering

As you know, Samarth is an initiative that has been inspired by a vision of helping senior citizens live with dignity. So, we think of all possible issues that can crop up as we age and then try to provide solutions or services that help ease those. We are assisted in our initiatives by many people, young and old alike. We are inspired by many seniors around, who appreciate the work that we do and also choose to participate in many activities happening, through being an example of leading happy, active lives.

The idea that only the young can volunteer and help others in distress or contribute to society positively is being busted by many seniors around. Many seniors are aged more than 70 and take it upon themselves to help others like them around.

Senior Volunteers

So, what do senior volunteers do? A few of the tasks such volunteers undertake are counseling lonely people out of depression or suicidal tendencies, working in nursing homes, elder care centers and hospitals, etc. An example is that of Sundera Gopalan, a 76-year-old grandmother, who receives distress calls from other lonely or suicidal senior persons and helps them tide over the phase. As per her, all she does is engage them by talking to them, taking them for walks, joke with them to make them laugh, etc., on a regular basis, till they feel better. She has been through a lonely phase herself when she lost her husband and hence can relate to other lonely people who feel terrible and thus volunteers to help.

Another example is that of 85-year-old Vedavalli Srinivasagopalan, who spends her time stitching pouches, handbags, and handkerchiefs and then donates the sale amount, to old-age homes. She keeps herself busy with this, whenever she comes down from the US to visit her daughter in India, despite them worrying that she may be straining herself out. She is happy to contribute to society in this way and wants to help maximum possible in her own way.

There are many others, who volunteer to take people for walks, assist them with bank visits,  or shopping, and other such chores. This is where people need help as they may be alone, slightly immobile, or having any such other difficulties. These volunteers help such people by assisting them in a dignified way to go about their daily lives. What is needed for people in such situations, is a community that works with them and for them, pretty much like what we at Samarth do? India has a substantial elderly population, and many of these live below the poverty line, needing constant financial, and social support. The elderly population is only expected to grow and therefore we in India, require many more such initiatives, that can help the senior citizens live a dignified life. If other seniors themselves can do it, there is nothing like it, and then, the people may feel truly comfortable with same age people.

Why should seniors volunteer?

There are many reasons why seniors should volunteer for causes seen around them. They will be active and feel a sense of satisfaction. Apart from that, studies conducted on this topic prove that seniors who volunteer actually get a lot of benefits, otherwise as well. Here are a few things quoted by such studies.

  • It lowers the rate of depression among them, by improving their mental health
  • They feel better in life as they get a sense of satisfaction that enhances their overall wellbeing and reduces their stress levels
  • It reduces their chances of getting diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • They become less isolated and more connected to the community around them
  • It gives them a sense of purpose to live on
  • They learn to mingle with people of all ages and work with them

These are proven benefits, and you may find that it is widespread in the Western countries for people to volunteer. Perhaps, we can also see how we can make ourselves useful to the community around us and thus stay fit as well as find a purpose in life.

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