When we give our time to others it’s no secret that we experience a one of a kind joy. The joy and purpose we feel when volunteering isn’t limited to one particular age group or type of person. Volunteering is something anyone at any age can do. However, it can be a particularly crucial decision for a person that may be newly settling into retirement or may just have many hours of free time to fill. Oftentimes when someone is looking for time to fill, volunteering can make a big difference and play a big part of living a healthy and active lifestyle.


As our pace begins to slow down and we find ourselves in a season with an abundance of time, it can often lead to a sense of loneliness or a feeling a loss of purpose. Perhaps family doesn’t live close by or friends have recently moved to be closer to loved ones. Whatever the reason, it can be easy to start feeling like you’ve lost your sense of direction.


Volunteering is a great way to connect with others. Building relationships and connecting with others is part of what makes us human, and volunteering can allow us to connect with all different groups of people. Volunteering also allows you to try new things. No matter where you decide to donate your time, it will open up the door to new relationships and places as well as new experiences.


Maybe you’re fortunate to have your friends and family still close by, but start to notice that your children and grandchildren now have overwhelmingly busy schedules. Studies have shown that volunteering can help reduce stress and improve your mood. This too can prevent those feelings of loneliness that can creep up on you or a loved one when finding themselves with more time on their hands or as loved ones begin to lead busier lives.


While we are discussing our loved ones, volunteering can contribute to your legacy that you leave behind for your loved ones. What a wonderful thing to leave behind for those you love, setting an excellent example for your family to follow and carry on touching lives and making an impact after you’re gone. This is an inspiring way to set a standard for future generations in your family to follow and look up to.


We all want to stay young and wish there was a magical foundation of youth. And while we probably won’t ever figure out that secret, we do know that volunteering can keep us young at heart and keep us active, both in body and spirit.


So whether you’re reading books to kids at school, taking dog treats to a shelter, knitting hats for newborns or rocking a baby in the church nursery, find a way to donate your time to others and you won’t be disappointed. If you would like to learn about volunteering at Elder Care or other organization around town, you can call Elder Care at 918-336-8500.


— Rachel Holdredge is the community outreach coordinator for Elder Care in Bartlesville.