Why Seniors Should Be Volunteering as a Senior


As you enter retirement, you’ll likely have more free time on your hands. This gives you time to pick up old hobbies or meet with friends and family. Or, you may want to pick up a new hobby or find a new purpose. Rather than just having something to do every day, you may want to do something that feels meaningful every day. Volunteering would be the perfect opportunity for you!

Did you know that older adults are the top contributing group of volunteers? Data from Statistics Canada shows that while they have a lower volunteer rate than younger age groups, older adults contribute more hours per year on average. As you enter retirement, you have a lot more free time on your hands, making you an extremely valuable volunteer! Companies want more seniors to volunteer; they’re seen as a loyal group of volunteers, generally with more flexible schedules and more availability. 

But why should you volunteer? What’s in it for you? Aside from the benefit to your community and the feeling of doing something good for your community, volunteering has numerous mental, physical, and social benefits.


Mental Health Benefits

Volunteering and dedicating your time to a cause you care about can seriously make you happier! Research has shown that people who volunteer experience increased feelings of happiness and lower rates of stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, volunteering has been proven to be a great way to keep your mind active and engaged, linking volunteering to a decrease in memory and cognitive illnesses like dementia.


Physical Benefits

In addition to keeping your mind active, volunteering keeps your body active and keeps you moving. Data shows that seniors who volunteer have better self-reported general physical health and mobility. Retirement often leads to decreased physical activity, so get active while helping your community!


Social Benefits

Retirement often leaves a lot of seniors feeling isolated. You don’t go out every day and see coworkers, friends, and family. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in a cause you care about and meet people that share those same values! Developing new friendships and expanding your social network can help you build a stronger sense of belonging in your community. Building new social relationships can also help with the mental and cognitive health benefits mentioned above!

Volunteering also allows you to get involved and engage in change in your community and society as a whole. Research shows this can increase your feelings of belonging, identity, and empowerment.


Renewed Sense of Purpose and Passion

On top of all the amazing mental and physical benefits that come with volunteering, it also just feels good. Volunteering gives us a sense of accomplishment; an opportunity to do something beneficial for our community just makes us feel good! Retirement often leaves people feeling like they’ve lost a sense of identity and purpose brought to them by their career and social life pre-retirement. Volunteering is the perfect opportunity to connect with that purpose or discover a new passion. You can find an organization or cause that you have skills and knowledge about from your career or explore new areas of passion. Reigniting that spark of passion and purpose will help you be motivated and healthier, contributing to all of the positive mental, physical, and social benefits we mentioned before.


If you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits of volunteering, a great place to begin is by checking in with local senior housing or independent living communities to see if they have any resources or opportunities they can refer you to. Or, you can view BC’s list of suggested organizations you can get involved with. Still not sure where to start? Check out Volunteer Canada’s resource to help guide you to get started as a volunteer!