Did you know that 47 per cent of Canadians volunteer their time to help others, donating an incredible 2 billion hours of work?
Those figures are a bit old, from Statistics Canada in 2010, but that volunteer work constitutes “the equivalent of 1.1 million full-time jobs,” Sector Source reports.
While seniors donate the most volunteer hours of any age group, “only 36 per cent of seniors volunteer, compared to 50 per cent of other age groups,” reports the Globe and Mail.
“Volunteering in retirement has an amazing mutual benefit: The organization receives free contributions from someone with a lifetime of experience and wisdom, while retirees get a positive transition from their paid working careers,” the Globe article notes. “There’s also intellectual stimulation (beyond Sudoku puzzles), connection to social networks (so you don’t drive your family crazy with all that time on your hands), enhanced health and quality of life (when not traveling to all those exotic destinations), and a sense of purpose (aside from getting your golf handicap down).”
What do the senior volunteers get out of it? Mark Miller, a stroke survivor, wants to help others in the same boat. “I’m a volunteer facilitator with Heart & Stroke’s Living with Stroke program. I want to help stroke survivors make positive changes and move forward with their lives,” he states on the Heart and Stroke Canada website.
Retirees, notes US News and World Report, “have the most discretionary time” to be volunteers. “They have almost twice as much time as working parents in their 30s or 40s,” the article adds. “They feel that giving back to society means they make a difference in the lives of others. Some 70 per cent of retirees also say being generous provides a significant source of happiness.”
Seniors have skills and talents that are increasingly in demand. A look at the Senior Toronto website shows volunteer help wanted ads for Associated Senior Executives of Canada, Inc., Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Charity Village and Habitat for Humanity, Greater Toronto Area, to name but a few from a very long list.
This blogger has volunteered over the years with the United Way, the Salvation Army kettle drive and the Royal Canadian Legion poppy campaign.
So if you’ve reached the end of your working days, and are feeling a little isolated and in need of something to do, consider volunteering. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’re still saving up for life after work, don’t forget to check out the Saskatchewan Pension Plan’s efficient, well-run and effective retirement system.
|Written by Martin Biefer
|Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. After a 35-year career as a reporter, editor and pension communicator, Martin is enjoying life as a freelance writer. He’s a mediocre golfer, hopeful darts player and beginner line dancer who enjoys classic rock and sports, especially football. He and his wife Laura live with their Sheltie, Duncan, and their cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22|