Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/29/2019 - 13:33
Katherine Parker

Senior Corps volunteering improves health, community engagement. 

Older adults face a variety of challenges as they age, including social isolation and associated health concerns like depression. Senior Corps not only serves this population through our Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent programs but also makes it possible for older adults to give back to their communities. A recently released independent report by the Corporation for National and Community Service reveals the impact of this service – seniors who volunteer are healthier and happier.

More than 80 percent of volunteers surveyed reported feeling healthier and less socially isolated after serving in Senior Corps. Older adults are more likely to face physical, financial, or social barriers to volunteering, but Senior Corps provides opportunities that accommodate exceptional needs and make it possible for seniors to reengage as active community members.

The Benefits of National Service

Senior Corps and AmeriCorps programs provide solutions that are at the forefront of our country’s most complicated and pressing issues. They assist underserved populations and introduce a spirit of civic engagement that empowers communities to build solutions that fit their specific needs. National service members and volunteers take on difficult-but-necessary tasks to overcome challenges affecting Americans and, in the process, address underlying issues such as social isolation.

One key difference between Senior Corps and other volunteer opportunities is the provision of a small hourly stipend for income-eligible volunteers. For many, this aid makes all the difference. While the report says most volunteers reported serving in their community because they want to help, close to one-third had an underlying financial reason. The modest stipend provided by Senior Corps helps remove obstacles to volunteering and ensures participants don’t incur additional costs while serving.

Through Senior Corps, 55 and older volunteers find new avenues for personal growth, a sense of accomplishment and meaningful community service, and a chance to make friends. They feel less socially isolated and are able to put their years of experience back into the community.

Celebrating Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month and it’s more than a celebration of the contributions made by this group of citizens. It’s an opportunity to connect older Americans to a sense of community. The Administration for Community Living offers a variety of easy ways to build this connection – arrange a community meal, plan a resource fair, use social media to connect older adults to each other, or simply be available to chat and listen. 

Senior Corps and AmeriCorps are often the muscle behind programs that provide essential services to underserved communities, but more importantly, they foster relationships with the people they serve. National service brings humanity and compassion to communities across the country and turns our most pressing challenges into opportunities to build human connection.

Click here to learn more about the impact of national service and the benefits of volunteering with Senior Corps.