Did you know that August is Boomers Making a Difference Month? It’s only appropriate that we should have a month set aside to honor this generation because they have certainly made a difference in the world. Generally defined as anyone born between 1945 and the early 1960s, Boomers were present for and part of some of the largest advances, societal shifts and redefinitions of our time. This generation was born to shake things up, and that’s still continuing today – especially when it comes to donating their time and efforts in retirement. (Which is another term that they’re currently redefining.)
“The Boomer generation is incredibly diverse and can’t be summed up with just one or even several characteristics,” says Jeanie Tini, Director of Marketing and Sales at The Estates at Carpenters, a Life Plan Community in Lakeland, FL, that offers Lifecare. “They span the gamut of wealth, education, social class, businesses and so much more. Some may resemble the more traditional image of an older adult, while others could be mistaken for someone decades younger. Boomers are redefining what it means to be an older adult – and that’s a good thing.”
One big way that Boomers are making a difference in their communities is by volunteering their time and efforts to help causes and organizations that have meaning to them. During Boomers Making a Difference Month, organizations around the globe are celebrating the achievements of their older participants and focusing on the advancements and changes this generation has made and continues to make.
“This month, we’re focusing our praise on those older individuals who are facing aging with grace, energy and aplomb,” says Jeanie. “That perfectly describes our residents at The Estates at Carpenters. Our community is filled with joyous, energetic and enthusiastic individuals who are embracing this stage of life wholeheartedly. Not only are they making a difference through volunteering their time and efforts, but they’re also making a difference by building meaningful relationships with friends and family and celebrating life. We’re excited to be a place where we can help our residents continue to grow, challenge themselves and live their best lives, now and as they go through their aging journey.”
How Volunteering Makes a Difference for Older Adults
We all know that volunteering does good for the communities in which we live. But did you know that volunteering also provides a lot of personal benefits, as well? Volunteering provides so much fulfillment in the emotional, physical and mental spheres, which helps us all – but especially older adults – improve quality of life. Here are just some of the benefits that come from donating our time and efforts to causes and organizations we believe in.
- A longer life. Studies have shown that older adults (ages 50 and older) who volunteer have a longer lifespan than individuals who don’t give of their time and energies. It’s been suggested that regular volunteering can increase the age span of participants by five years or more.
- Better mental health. Staying socially and mentally active is incredibly important for older adults. Loneliness and isolation can be a real problem with this age group, which results in depression, anxiety, boredom and even raises the risk of developing cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. Volunteering gets you out of the house, activates your little grey matter and puts you in contact with a wide range of people – all things that help boost mental health and overall happiness.
- Better physical health. Older adults who volunteer report having better health, higher levels of physical activity and fewer health issues or disabilities than those who don’t volunteer.
- Lower pain levels. As we get older, aches and pains become more common. But according to 75 percent of older adults polled, volunteering helps control chronic pain. Perhaps that’s due to everything we’ve mentioned above – staying active, having good mental health and feeling fulfilled are all things that can help reduce how pain affects you.
4 Ways Older Adults Are Making a Difference
How are older adults making a difference when it comes to donating their time to their communities and the world in general? Here are some of the most popular volunteer options for older adults. If you’re a Boomer, or if you have a Boomer in your life who’s inspired you, take a look at some of the ways you, too, could make a difference this month (and in all the months to come).
Helping in schools. Many older adults are drawn to helping children in some way, shape or form, and there’s no better place to do that than a local school or children’s organization. Schools and groups are always looking for people to serve as mentors, classroom aides, fundraisers, reading partners, coaches and more. Volunteering in this way allows Boomers to help improve the quality of local education and the lives of children in their community. If this sounds interesting to you, contact your local school district or get in touch with Communities In Schools, a national program with 181 local affiliates in 25 states that coordinates the efforts of volunteers across the country.
Business consulting. For many Boomers, work and career played a huge role in their lives. Once they’ve retired, many of these individuals find that they’re interested in passing along the knowledge they’ve accumulated over decades in the business. Boomers are heading back into the workforce in many different ways – from becoming a consultant in their field to opening a completely new business or donating their time to small businesses and start-ups that could use their knowledge and expertise. SCORE, a nonprofit organization that partners with businesses and retirees, works to help Boomers provide free consulting services to business owners to help them achieve growth in their industries.
Foster grandparent. The Foster Grandparent Program (a nationally funded program that’s organized on the local community level) is a wonderful way for older adults to spend time with children and share their love – especially if their own grandchildren are grown or live far away. This program, sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, is open to anyone 60 or older and can be a priceless gift for a child – and for the retiree, as well.
Senior companion. Many younger retirees choose to donate their time to older adults who need assistance or a friend. The Senior Companion Program of the Corporation for National and Community Service matches active, independent older adults with elderly families and individuals in their communities who need extra help. As a companion, Boomers spend their time helping older adults with chores, transportation, errands and social companionship.
“These are just four of the countless ways that Boomers are making a difference in today’s world,” says Jeanie. “There are more ways than ever for older adults to take charge of their lives and their passions to help improve their communities and make the lives of others better. Whatever you enjoy doing, you’ll easily find a group or organization who would dearly love to have you provide your expertise, knowledge and know-how. And Boomers Making a Difference Month is the best time to get out and share yourself with your community.”
About The Estates at Carpenters
The Estates at Carpenters is a Life Plan Community offering worry-free independent living, assisted living and high-quality skilled nursing care and rehabilitation. For over 35 years, The Estates has provided older adults in the area with an active, engaging lifestyle filled with abundant choices and the amenities and services that make life easier. A lifestyle designed to keep older adults healthy and well today – and tomorrow.
For more information on The Estates or to RSVP to an upcoming event, contact Jeanie at 863-279-4503 or visit our website.