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Monday, October 4, 2010

Volunteering and Aging

  For more than ten years I have been volunteering at the Langley Seniors Centre. It has been, and continues to be a major source of activities outside my work life.   If you would like to see what we do their and consider senior's centres in your area go to    
   Volunteering is a way many people enhance their sense of belonging, participate in social networks, express their trust in others and give back to the community.  Similar to other Provinces, BC volunteers help organize activities, serve on boards or committees, canvas, campaign and raise funds worth millions of dollars. In many cases, the hours we spend volunteering tend to increase with age.  In one study, seniors who volunteered contributed an average of 233 hours per year, much higher than younger adults.

      So the question arises: What does volunteering provide for us?  For one thing it creates an opportunity to maintain our sense of competence within organizational objectives during our senior years following retirement.  Part of the answer might be found in the work of Jane Loevinger, a major personality theorist.  She emphasized that with aging there comes a gradual internal acceptance of social rules and the maturing of one's  conscience.

     In other words, volunteering can be seen as a reflection of growing self-awareness and a desire to give back to the community using skills and abilities that have been maturing through adulthood.  We have pretty well figured out who we are and what we can contribute.

Do you volunteer?
If so, why?

1 comment:

  1. I do volunteer but not nearly as much as many people I know. I believe all people have an obligation to volunteer in their community. Think what could be accomplished if everyone volunteered.

    I volunteer as a center guide at at wetlands that's undergoing a huge restoration. I enjoy it a lot.

    When we lived in Texas my husband and I were members of a guardianship program in our county. We were court appointed guardians for elders abandoned on the hospitals or removed from their home situation because of family abuse,etc. It was rewarding but stressful.

    Upon moving to Oregon I did not want to do that kind of work any more but my husband continued to volunteer in a care center until his health required him to stop.

    I chose the wetlands. It was different, nice people to work with, and a way for me to learn the birds and animals of the Pacific NW.

    I carefully guarded my time and did not agree to every volunteer opportunity. The guardianship work just about did me in for volunteering.