(Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 5, 2019) – Research shows that volunteering is good for the health and well-being of volunteers. But many Americans who are vulnerable to poor health outcomes – like older adults with low-incomes – face significant obstacles to volunteer opportunities. As a result, they may miss out on the benefits of volunteering, and communities may miss out on the volunteer service they could provide.
A new, independent report sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads the nation’s volunteer efforts, offers some good news: Senior Corps provides volunteer opportunities for low-income Americans 55 and older to live happier, healthier lives while making a difference in their communities.
Deborah Cox Roush, Director of Senior Corps, a national service program for Americans 55 and older, explains these health benefits.
WE FOLLOWED THE HEALTH OF OUR VOLUNTEERS FOR TWO YEARS AND FOUND THAT MORE THAN EIGHTY PERCENT OF OUR VOLUNTEERS REPORTED IMPROVED OR STABLE HEALTH. THEY ALSO REPORTED DECREASED FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION AND SOCIAL ISOLATION. THE GREAT NEWS IS THAT THIS STUDY CONFIRMS WHAT WE HAVE LONG BELIEVED TO BE TRUE — OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE NOT ONLY IMPROVING THE LIVES OF OTHERS — THEY ARE ALSO IMPROVING THEIR OWN HEALTH.
IN THIS STUDY, NEARLY ALL VOLUNTEERS SERVING IN OUR FOSTER GRANDPARENT OR SENIOR COMPANION PROGRAMS REPORTED HOUSEHOLD INCOMES OF THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS OR LESS, WHICH IS KNOWN TO BE A RISK FACTOR FOR POOR HEALTH AND A BARRIER TO VOLUNTEERING. OUR RESEARCH FOUND THAT THE STRUCTURE AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF OUR PROGRAMS, HELP OUR VOLUNTEERS FIND A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT, OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONAL GROWTH, AND CHANCES TO FORM MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS.
For more information, visit SeniorCorps.gov.