How is Volunteering Beneficial for Seniors?

For many seniors retirement brings about mixed feelings—happiness for no longer being required to work, but restlessness about how to spend free time. Volunteering is an excellent way for seniors to occupy their spare time, while gaining a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Studies suggest that outreach activities influence a person’s social, emotional, and even physical well-being. Data also shows that one in five retired seniors believe that volunteering is the single most valuable thing that they do with their free time. The truth is that seniors have diverse skill sets and wisdom to offer as volunteers. They bring to the table a generation of life experience that is beneficial to others.

Every senior has their own reasons for volunteering their time, and the impacts of doing so are diverse from person to person. However, every senior gains some common benefits from volunteering. Here are some of advantages of volunteering…

  • Volunteering bridges generation gaps…Seniors who volunteer are in a unique position to influence and support younger generations.
  • Reflects positively on the senior community…Seniors who volunteer present themselves as an active, caring and involved member of the community.
  • Promotes mental health…Seniors who volunteer may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, as well as decrease their risk of feeling isolated or depressed.
  • Keeps the body active…Seniors who volunteer are more active in mind and body, which contributes to improved longevity and an overall better feeling of self.

You’ll be pleased to know that it’s likely your community has hundreds of ways in which you can offer your time. Whether you’re interested in working with youths in a mentoring or tutoring capacity, providing college graduates career help, or offering companionship and care to home-bound seniors, there are many ways to become involved. Places to start when seeking out volunteer opportunities are non-profit groups, churches, shelters, schools and health care facilities. For assistance in locating volunteer opportunities in our area, contact AT Home Care today.

Why is Advance Care Planning Important?

Advance care planning is the process of making important decisions about the care a person would like to receive in the event he or she can not speak for themselves. Many people put this off because it is a distressing topic to think about in advance. Other people simply think they’re too young or too healthy to be creating an advance care plan. However, a person of any age, in good health, can be faced with a crisis that takes their ability to make their own healthcare choices.

These decisions are fundamental for seniors, especially those who have not solidified an advance care plan. If you’re unfamiliar with the elements of advance care planning, the process is about making both legal and personal decisions about your future. There are several factors to consider. Below are some tips for finalizing an advance care plan.

First and foremost, complete an advance directive. These decisions are the foundation of advance care planning. An advance directive includes two parts—a living will and medical power of attorney. The living will enables a person to specify what care they would or would not want if faced with a medical crisis. Medical power of attorney, or healthcare proxy, is a person appointed to speak on a person’s behalf if that person is unable to speak for themselves.

It’s always wise to keep finances in balance, but even more so as a person ages. Whether you live at home, or reside in assisted living it’s important to consider how your finances would fair in the event you had to move to a facility, or became ill. Seniors must be able to take responsibility for a portion of their living and medical expenses regardless of the circumstances. Another area to evaluate is home safety. If you age in place, it’s important to ensure a safe environment, free of hazards or fall risks. Establishing support and companionship is beneficial mentally and physically as a person grows old as well.

Advance care planning isn’t just about signing legal documents. It’s about feeling safe and secure with your finances, living arrangements and overall environment. If it seems overwhelming, allow a family member to help and tackle one portion at a time. Once the advance care plan is complete, you can rest assured knowing your preferences are documented. In the event that it’s needed, not only does the individual benefit, but it is helpful for family members and health care providers that may need to care for a person with a life-limiting illness or medical emergency.

For more information on advance directives, home safety and other elderly support resources, contact AT Home Care today.