Seniors: Voluntarism and Its Advantages

Oct 5th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Voluntarism is one of the most sterling qualities of the American culture and lifestyle.  Persons seek out all forms of volunteer activity.  The variety is beyond listing, differing somewhat from region to region, enabling the expenditure of as much or little time as one wishes to give.

A review of volunteer activities available in your area is the logical place to start.  But there are preliminary questions you need to answer in advance of taking the effort to seek out some compatible voluntary role for yourself.  These questions are:

*What are my major interests?  In what field would I draw the most satisfaction from volunteering my time?

*How many hours a day/week, etc. am I willing to offer?

*How far am I willing to commute to be a volunteer?

*After choosing a volunteer activity, how long do I give it to determine it really satisfies my needs and I am meeting their expectations?

Having asked those questions and found some resolution to them, the next step is an interview with the agency or program you have chosen.  In this case questions can and should be directed both ways.  It will be this step that will help you to evaluate whether the program or institution is just right for you.  If not, readily admit that, thank the interviewer for their time and move along.

The advantages of volunteering are varied, just as the places where you might volunteer are.    Deciding on the type of voluntary involvement will determine many of those advantages, however there are some generic ones as well. 

If you have chosen a hospital or some medical group with which to work, this may bring you direct rewards to do something perhaps you have wanted to do all your life.  It will certainly raise your empathy level for both patients and professionals, when discovering what daily experiences come out of those settings.

Perhaps you enjoy literature, history, and all the  combinations of things that go into being attached to a library.  Here, the human interaction may be less, but intellectual challenges more.

Assisting in working with persons with handicapping conditions is another of the experiences which teaches patience, respect, and offers opportunity to learn more about certain health conditions.

It is perfectly okay to have goals greater than just wanting to help.  The more personal satisfaction a volunteer draws from his/her efforts, the more energy and interest he/she will want to pour into it.



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