Gone are the days when retirement confines you to a chair with fewer activities to do. Thanks to increasing health awareness, many men and women enjoy a longer and healthier life these days. There are also more people retiring young while still in their active phase.
Therefore, seniors and retirees have enough time and energy to devote to some of the activities that they were not able to do due to career burdens and family responsibilities.
With many NGOs and non-profit organizations looking for assistance from volunteers, there are a lot of senior volunteering opportunities available today for retirees to take advantage of and sign up.
What Is Senior Volunteering Opportunities All About?
Today, there are a lot of retirees who are still able to take up volunteer opportunities as a way of giving back to their society.
Senior volunteering is all about allowing retirees to serve as volunteers in certain areas of the community. The Senior Community Service Employment Program is the US government’s effort towards providing subsidized community services and employment training to individuals above 55 years will low income earnings.
The program also includes volunteer opportunities, which added an estimated 48 million hours of community services in 2008. The activities of volunteers saved the U.S. economy about one billion dollars in 2008 alone.
SCSEP is a dual mission program that helps qualified retirees access grants from the government as well as contribute as volunteers to community development.
The U.S. government partners with host agencies through the national and state grantees to provide employment opportunities for community development.
Under SCSEP, participants must be at least 55 years of age to be eligible.
While SCSEP provides both the opportunity for participants to both volunteer and earn additional income, there is much non-profit organization that requires volunteers. Many non-profit organizations rely on the help of volunteers who are willing to donate their time and effort to community development.
For willing individuals for this senior volunteering opportunities, there is never a shortage of opportunities to volunteer, whether you are a retiree or a young person.
Also read: Top 10 Volunteer Opportunities For Senior Citizens In 2024
What Percent Of Volunteers Are Elderly?
Every year, there are millions of retirees and seniors (+65 years) who volunteer for opportunities to give back to the opportunity. However, because the population is over 48 million with an estimate of 80 million people in 2050, there are many opportunities for volunteers.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, there is no much change to the percentage of elderly volunteers.
However, for volunteers between the age brackets of 55-65, the rate of volunteer dropped about 5% from 2011-2015.
Generally, senior volunteers account for about 25% of the entire volunteer population. This figure is excluding the 55-65 demographics, which will bring the total figure to 35%. Due to retirement age, the elderly and seniors have more opportunities to serve as volunteers.
However, they still fall short of the numbers we expect to see when it comes to volunteering.
Volunteer Opportunities for Retirees
While there are numerous retiree volunteer opportunities available, the most popular ways retirees volunteer includes:
- Youth mentoring
- Fundraising through the selling of items
- Distributing/serving foods, which can also include preparing food
- Actively involving in general labor like home construction and keeping the parks clean
- Making and distribution of clothes
- Teaching/tutoring in schools
Reasons Why Retires and Seniors Should Volunteer
Many benefits can come with volunteering, whether you are young or old. However, these benefits become more relevant in older people. Retirees and older people are often less busy and do not do much when it comes to physical activities.
In most cases, they often mingle less with the community when you compare them to the young and average residents. Research shows that volunteers enjoy a longer life as a result of the following reasons:
1. Volunteering Have Social Benefits
Retirees and seniors find it difficult to maintain an active social life after retirement. According to Forbes, isolation occurs when retirees and seniors have little or no contact with other people.
The effect of this includes a high mortality rate, high medical bills, and a greater chance of falling ill.
Volunteering is one way to help retirees and seniors stay actively social and healthy for long. It provides them with the opportunity to mingle with other people including adults and children.
2. Volunteering is Good for Mental Health
Aging increases the chances of one developing mental health issues. Some of the common memory issues associated with aging include memory loss and psycho-motor diseases.
One of the ways to slow down some of these age-related mental issues is by staying active and putting the brain to use vigorously. Volunteering provides seniors and retirees the opportunity to keep communication alive and keep the brain active.
According to research, seventy percent of elderly people with symptoms of depression felt better after volunteering for the first year.
3. Volunteering Provides the Opportunity to Give Back to the Community
Volunteering provides seniors and retirees with an opportunities to contribute to society in their little ways.
In volunteering, the elderly and retirees distinguish themselves from others in their wealth of experience. Older people can volunteer in different areas of life where the younger generations converge.
They include places like churches, schools, youth camps, etc. Seniors and retirees can volunteer as mentors to provide the youths with useful knowledge about life.
4. Volunteering is Physically Engaging
As we grow older, we become less physically active, which can come with a lot of health effects. Therefore, it becomes essential to find ways to keep physically active while enjoying retirement days.
Physical activities are essential for seniors and retirees who wish to keep fit and stay healthy. Research from the University of South California’s School of Gerontology shows that less than 1/3 of adults within the age brackets of 65-75 are less active physically.
As people grow older, they become more and less active. Lack of physical activities can contribute to the development and advancement of cardiac issues, obesity, joint and bone problems.
Volunteering is one way to keep active and reduce the advancement of these diseases.
5. Volunteering Can Help Seniors Acquire New Skills
There are several things you may not get the opportunity to learn while actively working as a youth. Volunteering as a retiree or a senior provides you with the opportunity to explore other areas of life and acquire a new set of skills.
For example, a senior who has a passive interest in horticulture can volunteer with a farm and acquire more useful knowledge. Acquiring new skills and knowledge is beneficial to the cognitive well-being of the individual.
6. Volunteering is Flexible and Proves Useful in Filling up an Empty Day
There is no doubt, retirement is an exciting period that we all look up to, to relax and be free after years of active service. However, the days can often get lonely and boring. Volunteering is one way to make up for the boredom and stay alive socially.
The most interesting fact about volunteering is that it is very flexible. You fix your schedule according to what best suits you.
Volunteering also fills up space just the way work engagement used to during your active years. You wake up in the morning with an activity to look up to daily.
Step-By-Step Guide On How To Become A Volunteer As A Retiree Or Senior
It is indeed a great choice to volunteer as a retiree or senior and also a great way to stay active after years of service. There are also a lot of senior volunteer opportunities available to explore.
However, before you volunteer, consider the following tips to help you make the right choice.
Step One: Find Out What Motivates You to Become a Volunteer
You must find what motivates you to go out and volunteer. Knowing what motivates you will help you find the most suitable volunteer opportunity.
One of the main reasons why seniors and retirees volunteer is to have the opportunity to mingle and interact with people. No matter the field the retiree is volunteering for, the first reason for this is the opportunity to socialize with others and stay active mentally.
Therefore, before you sign up to become a volunteer for any position, ensure that it provides the opportunity to mingle as well as satisfies your passion.
Step Two: Focus on Your Passion and Skills
Finding an organization that offers suitable volunteer opportunities may not always be an easy task. However, you must focus on only organizations that offer openings in areas you are passionate about.
There are skills that you acquired during your active years that you can always put to use for better results. Volunteering in areas you are passionate about will help you enjoy a better volunteering experience.
Step Three: Search For Local Openings
It is always best to start your volunteer search locally. Volunteering locally is a great opportunity to connect better with your local community.
It also helps the senior to develop better interpersonal relationship skills. As a senior, some of the best places to begin your search for volunteer opportunities include hospitals, historical sites, non-profit organizations, and senior centers. Volunteering locally will also help you cut down on the cost of transportation and logistics.
Also, knowing that you are volunteering among people you are conversant with can make the experience more satisfying.
Step Four: Seek The Assistance of Volunteer Organizations
Volunteers agencies can be of great assistance when it comes to volunteering in your area. They understand the kinds of openings that are available in your area.
They also understand the volunteer opportunities that are in high demand in your area and stand a better opportunity to hook you up.
Volunteer agencies will also help provide assistance and the necessary awareness for seniors and retirees who wish to volunteer for these opportunities.
Step Five: Go Through The Volunteer Process Carefully and Ensure You Understand it
The registration process for some volunteer opportunities for seniors is easy and straightforward.
However, some volunteer openings have special requirements that one must meet to be eligible to volunteer.
Therefore, it is essential to read the requirements in detail and ensure you are eligible before applying.
Step Six: Don’t Promise to Give in So Much
While volunteering may be flexible and feels easy, note that it also involves work. Organizations can sometimes request so much commitment from their volunteers.
Do not promise so much as a volunteer. Start small and increase it as the need arises. You can start volunteering maybe once or twice a week and then up the scale if you need to.
In most cases, non-profit organizations often want to maximize their staff to the core and as such might want to stretch your duties as a volunteer.
Read: WHY IS VOLUNTEERING IMPORTANT? 10 BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING ABROAD
Step Seven: You Might Want to Go With Your Spouse or Friend
If you must, bring a friend or family member along when entering a new volunteer opportunity. It can make it less intimidating. Tell more people about volunteer openings and see who is ready to join you in the position.
In many ways, it can be beneficial to your existing relationships and help you develop new ones faster.
This is a step in senior volunteering opportunities.
Step Eight: Don’t Be Afraid to Reject What You Don’t Want
Sometimes, volunteering can be very demanding and as such can drain you both mentally and physically. It is always essential to slow down and whenever the position begins to take up too much of your time.
Don’t hesitate to discuss your frustration with your volunteer manager. In most cases, speaking up will enable your volunteer coordinator to understand your frustrations and help find you a more suitable role within the same opportunity you are volunteering.
Step Nine: Utilize Available Resources
Many organizations in the United States help match volunteers with the right opportunities within the States and around the world.
Organizations like The Corporation for National and Community Service is responsible for organizing volunteering programs for retirees and senior corps member under the RSVP program.
The program caters to the volunteering needs of retirees and adults aged 55 and over.
Other organizations like VolunteerMatch.org are also responsible for connecting volunteers with suitable volunteer opportunities.
Other online tools can help retirees and seniors find the right volunteer openings. Take the time and utilize every available tool to find the right opportunity.
How Can One Find Volunteering Opportunities As A Retiree Or Senior?
Finding volunteering opportunities as a senior can be a bit difficult. It is essential to identify the best ways to get involved as a volunteer.
There are many websites and online resources that devote their time to providing the best volunteer openings for retirees and seniors both locally and internationally.
An organization like the American Association of Retired People (AARP), provides volunteering openings across the United States for retirees and seniors. The organization manages a large database of volunteer opportunities. They also have a portal where those who wish to contribute their quota within their community can sign up as volunteers.
There are numerous opportunities in many aspects of volunteering available on the site. They cover almost all areas of life including sports and the arts etc. no matter the field you are interested in, you can always find what suits you when you visit the site.
10 Best Retiree And Senior Volunteering Opportunities In 2023
One of the best ways to give back to life when you are over 50 is by volunteering. It provides you the opportunity to share your wealth of experience and knowledge with the younger generation.
There are quite a good number of volunteer opportunities for people over 50 in both the health and private sectors.
Where Can Seniors Volunteer?
If you wish to volunteer after your retirement, below are 10 of the best volunteer opportunities for seniors, In the United States.
1. Wildlife Centre Assistant
Location: Coral Springs, Florida
Volunteer with Fronteering Travels, a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for wildlife in Florida’s wildlife and nature reserves. The location is notable for its variety of wildlife species, especially birds and alligators.
Enjoy the traditional ways of living and make new friends among the local communities. The program offers flexible options and allows volunteers to choose what best suits them.
The position is open to:
- People who wish to volunteer alone as individuals
- People who wish to volunteer as couples
Applicants for Wildlife Centre Assistance must be at least 18 years at the time of registration. There is no age limit to volunteering for this position.
Duration of Volunteer: Minimum volunteer duration is six weeks. The program also has a maximum volunteer duration of 12 weeks.
Activities: typical activities include providing foster care, medical care, and treatment for migrating animals. Other activities include:
- Cleaning of animal habitat
- Preparing food
- Changing the water and diet for the animals
- Doing the laundry
- Helping with events
- Creating awareness to the general public
Stats: The program is available from January to December. Click the following link to start your registration process today.
2. Children’s Autism & Horse Therapy Assistant
Location: New Orleans, United States
Volunteer and become part of the team who work daily to make a difference in special needs kids using the horse ranch therapy.
Volunteering at Children’s Autism & Horse Therapy Ranch provides you with the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic view of the ranch strategically positioned among Southern Mississippi rolling hills. Like we earlier mentioned, this opportunity is one of those with additional eligibility criteria.
Suitable candidates for this position must be:
- 18+ years during the time of signing up
- The opportunity is also open for adults over 50 years
- You can volunteer alone or as a couple
- The opportunity is also open for people who wish to register as a group
Other eligibility criteria for volunteering for this position includes:
- Vaccination against Tetanus
- Health Insurance
- Evidence of clean criminal records or police report
- At least an intermediate understanding of the English language
- The applicant must not be allergic to animals
- The applicant must not be a smoker
- Flexibility to activities is also a requirement
- Driver’s license is an added advantage
Duration: Minimum volunteer duration of 1 week and a maximum of 4 weeks is required.
The duty of the volunteer is essential and geared towards achieving organizational goals. Typically, the main activities include:
- Taking care of the horses and grooming them
- Taking care of other small therapy animals like cats, dogs, and goats
- Lend a helping hand during therapy sessions
- Ensuring that the stalls and the surrounding areas of the pen are clean
- Ensuring the horses are well-fed
- Repairing and maintaining the building and surrounding fence
- Tending to the garden and the lawn
- Other tasks may be assigned in line with organizational goals
Stats: The program is flexible and available all year round. For more information about the program, visit the website.
Read: 10 Best Child Volunteering Opportunities Abroad In 2024
3. Community Support Program
Location: San Diego United States
Love Volunteers is a non-profit organization to tackles the disparities in income by assisting low-income earners. As part of their program, they also provide housing solutions for the homeless. If you love to assist the less-privileged, Love Volunteers offers you a great opportunity to do so.
A volunteering opportunity with Love Volunteers is suitable for:
- People aged 18 years and above. Children 17+ years require parental consent to be admitted into the program
- People over the age of 50 looking for an opportunity to serve their community
- Families who wish to lend their assistance
- People who wish to volunteer as singles or couples
- The volunteer opportunity is also open to groups
- Intermediate understanding of the English language
- Clean record of criminal background
- Provision of emergency contact, CV, and police clearance
Duration: Minimum of 1 week and a maximum of 12 weeks is required. Volunteers are required to put in 6 hours of service daily from Monday to Friday only.
Activities: Activities include helping dedicated NGOs to meet their humanitarian goals. Volunteers will also assist in the sorting and distribution of donated items to the people. Assist in the provision of local shelters for the homeless and keeping public spaces clean. Note that the activates may vary, depending on the position or type of volunteer role.
Stats: This senior volunteering opportunities is open from January to December for those who are interested. Visit the affiliate website for more information about the program and the registration fees.
4. Community Support in Denver
Location: Denver, United States
If you live in Denver and looking for an opportunity to volunteer among your local community, Love Volunteer provides you with a great opportunity to volunteer in the beautiful countryside.
Volunteering can help tackle the needs of some of the communities in Denver that are almost forgotten today. There is number of the Denver communities that are suffering from marginalization and neglect and need the help of volunteers to cope.
The volunteer position is suitable for:
- People over 18 years or at least 17 (with parental consent)
- Retirees and seniors over the age of 50
- Families who wish to render assistance in one way or the other
- Singles and couples with the passion for helping the less privileged communities
- Intermediate language skills (English)
- Clean record of criminal background
- Submission of emergency contact details, a current CV, and a copy of the police report
- The passion to assist those in need with the aim of making life better for them
Duration: minimum of 1-week volunteer duration and a maximum of 12 weeks. The position requires a daily input of 3-5 hours daily from Monday to Friday (09:00 – 14:00)
Activities: Typical activities include assisting in the distribution of food among the local communities. Volunteers also assist in the sorting of donation items for distribution among the community.
Also, volunteers will assist in the provision of shelters for homeless members of the community. In collaboration with local groups, the volunteer will assist in keeping public spaces clean.
Stats: Available all year round from January to December. Visit the site for more information and the registration process.
5. Volunteer As a Caretaker in A Horse Rescue Ranch
Location: Moscow, United States
There are many sick, abandoned, and injured horses to care for in the beautiful state of Idaho. If you love caring for horses, this is a great opportunity to enroll as a horse caretaker and help rehabilitate these horses. Suitable applicants for the position must be:
- At least 18 years at the time of enrolment
- Singles and groups are also eligible to volunteer for the position
- Intermediate understanding of the English language is a requirement
- A copy of my current CV/Resume
- Motivational letter
- Two copies of applicants current pictures
- Policies and liabilities form duly signed by the applicant
Duration: Minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks. Services. A maximum of 8 hours daily contribution is required from Monday through Friday.
- Caring for horses and maintaining the property
- Repairing damaged gears
- Maintaining and fixing damaged portions of the fence
- Brushing the horses
- Taking care of wounded and sick horses
- Ensuring that the horse stables are clean
- Providing hay for the horses
Stats: This senior volunteering opportunities is available from January to December. Interested applicants can follow this link for more details.
6. Volunteer as a Youth Mentor
Location: Chicago, United States
Sign up with love volunteers as a youth mentor and help counsel the underprivileged youths of Chicago. The program focuses on assisting youths who lack the basic amenities to cope with their daily activities.
This program collaborates with local organizations to provide the necessary assistance to make up for what these youths are lacking to have a positive experience. The volunteer opportunity is suitable for people with a passion for sharing knowledge and educating the younger generation.
As a retiree or a senior, imparting knowledge and mentoring the youth with your personal experience is a noble task.
Volunteering as a youth mentor is suitable for:
- Retirees/seniors who have the passion to teach using their personal experience
- Singles and couples who which to contribute to developing lives through education
- Families with the passion to help other fewer privileged families in their community
- All eligible candidates must be at least 18 years old at the time of registration
- Intermediate understanding of the English language
- Clean record of criminal background
- Provision of emergency contact and up-to-date CV
- Parental consent for volunteers who are 17 years old
Duration: Minimum duration of volunteering for this program is 4 weeks with a maximum duration of 12 weeks. Volunteers are expected to contribute 3-5 hours daily from Monday to Friday (9:00 to 14:00).
- Volunteers assist in scheduling and organizing after-school programs and other educational activities
- Volunteers assist in organizing, managing, and developing educational resources for less privileged youths
- Assist in tutoring the teens and disadvantaged children
- Keeping public schools neat, beautiful, and safe for students
Stats: The program is very flexible and available all year round. Volunteers can pick any month from January to December to volunteer. Click here for more information about the program.
7. Exotic Wildlife Caretaker Assistant
Location: Kona, United States
If you are the type with a passion for exotic wild animals, then this opportunity is for you. Sign up with Fronteering Travel and have a good time taking care of exotic wildlife ranging from spider monkeys, Gibbons, exotic birds, etc. Volunteering as an exotic wildlife caretaker assistant can be physically very demanding with an 8-hour shift. It involves a lot of clearing and feeding of animals with a strict schedule that must be kept.
The volunteer opportunity is suitable for:
- Individuals with a passion for animals
- Retirees who have enough physical strength to withstand the stress can also apply
- All volunteers must be at least 18 years old at the time of application
- Intermediate understanding of the English language is a requirement for qualification
- All applicants must submit a current copy of their CV and personal motivational letter
- A signed copy of the policies and liability form accompanied with two current passports
Duration: A minimum duration of 4 weeks and a maximum volunteer duration of 6 weeks. The time commitment for this position is from 08:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday.
- Build and take care of existing animal enclosures
- Take care of wounded animals and ensure they are reintegrated into the wild when they are ready
- Enlighten visitors about Hawaii’s delicate island ecology and the behavioral patterns of the animals
- Ensure that resident animals that cannot be released back into the wild are at optimal health
Stats: Available all year round for volunteers who are willing to take up the task. Follow this website to begin your registration process.
8. Volunteer in Community Initiatives
Location: Arabi, New Orleans
The program aims to bring secure housing and a safe environment to help support community development. There are underprivileged communities in New Orleans that require the assistance of volunteers to cope with the hardship of life.
The volunteer opportunity is suitable for:
- Couples and singles who love volunteering
- Retirees and seniors over the age of 50 with a passion for community development
- Families who are willing to support other families in whatever little ways they can
- Applicants must be at least 18 years at the time of application
- Applicants who are 17 at the time must provide parental consent to apply for a volunteer position
- Understanding the English language is essential
- A criminal background check is also required
- All applicants must submit an up-to-date CV and emergency contact details
- An extract of police clearance
Duration: Minimum of 1 week and a maximum of 12 weeks volunteering period. All volunteers are required to commit their time within the periods of 09:00 – 14:00 four to five days a week (Monday –Friday).
Volunteers are required to commit 4 to 5 hours of their time daily for four or five days a week. The duties of volunteering activities may vary depending on the type of project.
Typically, volunteer activities include assisting in the distribution of food and packing groceries for distribution. The volunteer will also assist in the sorting of donation items and assist in the development of homeless shelters.
Also, volunteers need to collaborate with local communities to keep public spaces clean and safe.
Stats: The senior volunteering opportunities position is flexible and open from January to December for interested applicants. Follow the link for more information about the position.
9. Volunteer as an Educational Mentor in Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia, United States
Assist underprivileged communities in Philadelphia to provide educational assistance to vulnerable youths and help deal with the effect of poverty on the community. The volunteer program is suitable for:
- People at least 18 years during the time of application
- Singles and couples with an interest in helping disadvantaged communities
- Families and groups can also volunteer
- There are no age restrictions for adults. Therefore, seniors and retirees with passion for the position can also apply.
To be eligible, the applicant must have an intermediate understanding of the English language. A clean criminal background record is also essential for the position. all applicants and emergency contact numbers and current CV.
Duration: The minimum volunteer duration is four weeks. Interested candidates can volunteer for up to a maximum of 12 weeks for the program.
Activities: Volunteer for this program will work for up to 5 hours daily from Monday to Friday. The activities include working in classrooms, libraries, and other educational development facilities. Volunteers will also work to develop and maintain a safer and beautiful educational facility for the citizens.
Stats: the program is available from January to December. You can click the following link to start your registration process.
10. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
Location: North America, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization with services ranging from building to employment, volunteer engagement, education, and honors. Retirees account for over 6,000 volunteers working with Habitat for Humanity.
Over the years, one of the things Habitat for Humanity does is collaborating with people including veterans to help them build their own small affordable homes. They also collaborate with individuals to repair their aging homes.
The good thing about the Habitat for Humanity program is that they involve the recipients of their program all through the process. By doing so, the program creates value and gives its recipients a sense of value.
The program is suitable for retirees, and seniors who wish to give back to society, especially to veterans. It is also suitable for Veterans who wish to become a part of the program and become homeowners under the Habitat for Humanity Veteran housing program.
For more information about this retiree volunteer opportunities, you can contact the organization by sending a message to VeteransBuild@habitat.org
Visit a local Habitat for Humanity office near you for more information about the program requirements. You can also request further information about the program by sending a mail to VeteransBuild@habitat.org
Duration: The duration of this program is not specified. You can visit the official website to request information about your program of choice. You can also send a mail to the organization to request information about the duration of the volunteer program.
Activities: Under the Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Program, there are numerous ways to participate. Thus, the activities vary according to your volunteer choice. The activities can range from humanitarian activities to house repair and construction. It all depends on your program of choice. Visit the following link for more info about the program activities.
Stats: not specified. Visit the official website of the organization for more info about the program.
Read Also: Top 13 Dentistry Volunteering Programs Abroad In 2024
Volunteering for retirees and seniors have both social and health benefits. It helps retirees and seniors to stay actively engaged in society while enjoying their years of retirement.
While there are few options for retirees and volunteers to stay active, volunteering is one of the easiest ways to keep stay actively engages and mentally healthy during all those years of fewer activities.
These are the retiree volunteer opportunities.
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