The many benefits of volunteering

Currently, one-third of Canada’s nearly 36 million people is between age 50 and 74 with those born between 1945 and 1960 making up the largest part of this group. These “leading edge” boomers are still active, interested and engaged with their communities. On Rogers tv London, you can find out more about their volunteer contributions in the community.

Take for example, the group of seniors currently meeting every week at Campus Creative, a marketing and new media company in downtown London. Hats off to these London seniors who are learning new media skills to produce livestream and pre-taped videos to show to residents in local retirement homes and long-term care centres. The project, sponsored by Museum London and funded by New Horizons for Seniors Canada, will allow housing staff to keep residents up to date on what’s going on in the community through video programs. The programs will be shown in resident lounges and recreation areas. Museum London can provide video coverage of new exhibits, speakers and special events at the Forks of the Thames to those who experience barriers to participation.

Pauline Duncan-Thrasher, one senior participating in the video training, signed up because she was curious about using video for seniors’ news and education. She likes the idea of reaching out to older seniors.

Local seniors’ advocates encourage all members of the community to make more efforts to communicate with our elders and help them feel informed and engaged. Participants in the video training felt older seniors are at risk of social and cultural isolation. Technology and video can also provide platforms for students to reach out to seniors from their classrooms.

October 1st is National Seniors Day in Canada and a great opportunity to recognize senior volunteers. In 2013, Volunteer Canada reported that baby boomers and seniors contribute more than 1 billion volunteer hours annually and the idea of younger seniors volunteering with older seniors is not new. Some research has even shown that volunteering and giving can contribute to the improved well-being and health of volunteers and donors.

Here are some ideas for seniors for National Seniors’ Day:

  1. Call aging family members.
  2. Visit a local long-term care residence and leave flowers for common areas.
  3. Write a “thank you” article for other senior community volunteers for your neighbourhood or church newsletter.
  4. Help an elderly neighbour with a chore.
  5. Volunteer at a seniors centre.
  6. Learn about your family history and share memories and stories with grandchildren.
  7. Visit the Veteran’s Hospital and leave thank you cards.
  8. Drive an elderly relative neighbour or relative to church.