Benefits of Volunteering

Why volunteering is good for you.

Health and Wellbeing: Active Aging for Older Adults in Ireland Evidence from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging 2017

Source: Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging

Irish study discussing that the positive association between volunteer work and well-being is widely documented. Volunteer work leads to better self-reported health, higher life satisfaction and decreased rates of depression. The lowest quality of life is found for people who never volunteer, regardless of age group. This positive association is also seen for people who have greater social engagement.

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Can volunteering in later life reduce the risk of dementia? A 5-year longitudinal study among volunteering and non-volunteering retired seniors 2017

Source: PLOS One (a peer reviewed open-access journal)

Swedish study finding that those who volunteer in later life have lower self-reported cognitive complaints and a lower risk for dementia, relative to those who do not volunteer, or only volunteer sporadically.

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Productivity & Engagement in an Aging America: The Role of Volunteerism 2015

Source: Daedalus Journal

MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society study showing that volunteerism in later life is associated with many health benefits including reduced risk of hypertension, higher well-being, better cognition and lower mortality.

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Is volunteering in later life impeded or stimulated by other activities? 2015

Source: (Originally published in Research on Aging)

Belgian study finding that older adults who volunteered are also active in other activities, especially in civic activities. However, people who helped others informally, such as taking care of children or a sick person, had a decreased propensity to volunteer.

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Productive Engagement and Late Life Physical and Mental Health: Findings from a Nationally Representative Panel Study 2007

Source: (originally published in Research on Aging)

Among older adults, a higher degree of positive well-being is associated with having multiple roles instead of just one. (e.g. caregiver, employee, volunteer, etc.).

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Volunteers’ experiences of becoming arthritis self-management lay leaders: “It’s almost as if I’ve stopped aging and started to get younger!” 2001

Source: Arthritis Care and Research Journal

UK program trained retired arthritis sufferers to teach an arthritis self-management course to others. The lay leaders reported more confidence, happiness, and a changed outlook on life in general. Volunteers enjoyed helping others and being involved in a worthwhile activity, and they valued their newly acquired status as leaders.

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