Recent data from Saga found volunteering to be an extremely common activity among the over 50s. A survey (which questioned nearly 11,000 people aged 50 or older) found that 42 per cent volunteer either for a charity or a local group, with women being the most likely to volunteer (45 per cent) compared to men (39 per cent). Whilst some older people volunteer because they have always done so, for others retirement is the trigger for volunteering for the first time.
There are numerous reasons why one should volunteer when one has retired. Volunteering in retirement brings a strong sense of purpose. It has been mentioned that retirement is an opportunity for you to use and develop your skills and talents further than you thought possible.
The core reasons given for volunteering were: to help others (62 per cent), as a way of keeping socially active (17 per cent), and because they think it is fun. Also volunteering can be a great way to meet new people and share your skills, as well as learn new ones.
For some older people, volunteering offers a ‘structured’ means of making a meaningful contribution in society once the opportunity to do so through work has been cut off. Some older people look to volunteering to replicate aspects of paid work lost upon retirement, such as organisational structure and time discipline. Others, however, look to volunteering to provide a complete break with the world of paid work.
People are so involved with their work that they face a vacuum when they retire, and a charity presents them not with an opportunity so much to occupy their time as to continue being in charge and having the status they had when they were working.
The significant benefits older people received from their volunteering, including the opportunity to meet people, to undertake a challenge and to keep the brain and body active cannot be overlooked. Organisations also pointed to the enormous benefits of involving older volunteers in their work.
Come and find out more about volunteering in retirement at the 60 Plus festival at one of the Portsmouth City Council events to be advertised shortly. Alternatively come to the drop-in sessions in the library on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 am to 2 pm to find out about the bank of volunteering opportunities for you.