Why seniors make the perfect volunteer participants

So much research exists on what volunteer participation can do for seniors. In our opinion, it’s just as important to question what seniors can do for volunteer programmes…Here’s to doing away with limited thinking, and instead, start coming up with more ways for seniors to serve the community!


What volunteer participation can do for seniors


Improved physical health

According to Pacific University School of Occupational Therapy, regular volunteer work has significant physical health benefits, including:

  • One study went so far as to conclude that volunteering activity in seniors reduces the risk of hip fractures in later years.
  • Another study found that participants who volunteer 200 + hours in a year are less likely to develop hypertension. Hypertension, another name for high blood pressure, increases the risk of, among other complications, heart disease, stroke and renal failure!
  • Volunteering is also a way for seniors to remain physically active. For example, volunteering often requires cooking and/or serving food, creative expression or interacting with children (Population Reference Bureau, August 2011).


Improved psychological health

We cover the importance of socialising for seniors, here. Volunteering takes these benefits, emotional and cognitive in particular, to a whole other level:

  • It’s not uncommon for our sense of purpose to stem from what we do for a living. Volunteering gives seniors who are no longer working an opportunity to continue contributing to their communities.
  • As with any age, the sense of confidence and satisfaction we get through giving back is only natural.
  • By engaging in a volunteer programme, our own problems, whether physical or psychological, become less active. In this way, volunteering can serve as a welcome distraction and in turn encourage a more positive attitude.
  • Volunteer programmes require commitment. Whether weekly or monthly, this gives participants a sense of responsibility as well as something to look forward to.


What seniors can do for volunteer programmes

According to the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, it’s time we started to think of seniors as treasure chests – “rich in experience and resources”. With their passion, maturity and well-developed skills and interests, as well as more time available during working hours, seniors are actually the perfect fit for a variety of volunteer positions. The magic trick then is to build the volunteer programmes around them!


Make a difference in your Village

Faircape supports community contribution. All who are willing and able to spend time with our Healthcare residents are welcome! Simply email andreaz@faircape.co.za if you’d like to get involved.



  1. The Effects Of Volunteer Participation On People With Cognitive Impairment
  2. Volunteering and Health for Aging Populations
  3. National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre
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