Young people all around us talk about volunteering: it is one of the most beneficial activities people can do for other people. There are many organizations that are always looking for volunteers to help them with their projects, and most of them are young people. How about older people? Haven’t they heard of the advantages of volunteering?
New research has found that you can be a healthy volunteer because this activity actually improves your health if you are over 40 years old. Doctor Faiza Tabassum (University of Southampton, U.K.) analyzed the results and told CBS News:
“Previous research has shown that volunteering in older age is associated with better mental and physical health, but it’s unclear whether this extends to other age groups.”
The study developed based on 66,343 answers from people all around the United Kingdom, and it covered 12 years, from 1996 to 2008. The results show women are most likely to volunteer than men. Also, as surprising as it may seem, most people over 60 years of age declared to have volunteered at least once, as opposed to youngsters (with a percentage of 17 for people younger than 30).
It is an interesting fact that researchers found a connection between volunteering and having a good mental health, as well as a positive mentality and self-image, which makes you a healthy volunteer. Moreover, this feeling occurs to older people, which seems to indicate the fact that when you are a fully grown adult, your view on life changes in such a way that it can even affect your health (positively, of course).
Doctor Dimitris Kiosses is a geriatric psychiatrist and contributed to the study. Kiosses talked about the advantages of volunteering at old age, and what does it mean to be a healthy volunteer:
“Being engaged in routine activities, an emotional feeling that you’re giving to other people, and the fact that you are feeling better about yourself by being productive and giving back, these are some of the psychological benefits of volunteering.”
If we were to leave aside for just a moment the statistics, the study could lead us to the following conclusion: regardless of your age, you can volunteer and be healthy, at the same time. You can help other people, and help yourself in the process. You can be a healthy volunteer, so be a healthy volunteer!
The study was published in BMJ Open (journal).
Image source: Wikipedia