Volunteerism among retirees is popular these days and the activity seems to help them live longer. Studies from the Corporation for National and Community Service show people who volunteer “report lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, fewer physical limitations and lower levels of stress than those who don't volunteer.” Data from the 2014 study shows 20 million older adults 55 and up average more than 3 billion hours of service in their communities annually. The value of this time is estimated at $75 billion.
Volunteering has some tax saving benefits, too. Though you can’t deduct anything for the time you spend volunteering, you can deduct the cost of gas and oil for your automobile while driving to the activity, or simply deduct 14 cents per mile. Other deductions can include uniforms and attending conventions.
Finding the Right Activity
Like a job, volunteering requires the right fit. It may seem logical to offer the experience and skills you developed while working but doing something completely different may be more rewarding. Make sure the activity offers the flexibility to fit your schedule and that it’s something you feel passionate about.
You’ve heard of foster parent programs, but did you know there are programs that pair children in need with foster grandparents? This is just one of the volunteer opportunities available through America’s Senior Corp program. Learn more at https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/get-involved
There are plenty of resources to find the right activity. The federal government offers Serve.gov. Another great place to look is AARP's Create the Good program.
Your community needs your talents and your commitment. And with the positive benefits of volunteering, this is truly a win-win situation.