The unexpected benefits of volunteering
Reduced stress, bonding time with the grandkids, creating meaningful connections and oftentimes a friendly cup of tea, are only a few of the benefits of volunteering within your village and community.Moreover, the ventures for volunteers go far beyond your local op-shop and you’d be surprised by the number of events within the community, that simply wouldn’t function without their faithful vollies.
1. Act on your passionsIn the words of Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”
Whether it be cooking up a meal worthy of a reality TV show, tending an award-winning garden or something a little more action-packed like cycling or swimming, our passions have the power to bring immense happiness and fulfilment to our lives and they shouldn’t be kept locked up.
It begs the question then; why not turn your passion(s) into something even more meaningful by volunteering your time to help the community?
Say for example you love to stay active, you could put your hand up for local sporting events or marathons and in celebration of Neighbour Month, rope some other sports-minded village residents in too. These events are often community run, have little-to-no financial backing and without passionate volunteers, they simply wouldn’t function.
2. Forge friendships and networksFlick back through a few figurative pages in our blog and you’ll find one called ‘Introducing Dad’s Army’; just look for the picture of five blokes armed with an arsenal of home maintenance tools. To cut a long story short, these gentlemen formed a ‘handyman’ group within East Bunbury’s Woodstock West Retirement Village demonstrating exactly how volunteering your time can lead to forming meaningful friendships while giving back to your community or village.
Another volunteer who has recently received a 15-year certificate to commemorate her volunteer work is Hibiscus Nambour resident Marian Haley. Attributing her work volunteering for Meals On Wheels as the reason she gets up every morning, Marian believes it’s the people she sees every day and the connections she’s formed, that make volunteering worthwhile.
“I get so much satisfaction every single day from helping these elderly people. I do it because I enjoy talking to them and realise that every little bit of help and company I give them, is something they wouldn’t have been able to achieve themselves,” says Marian.
“I’ve also made many friends [both other volunteers and clients] over the years, including one friend who turned 94 recently. I’ve now known her for 48 years.”
3. Nourish your mindOur bodies were designed to move at any age and while there may be a few more factors to consider as we mature, staying active in one way or another is mission critical. Studies have shown that volunteering makes us healthier and happier and it’s no coincidence that getting out-and-about and off the couch, is a big piece of the puzzle.
Limited not only to physical health, volunteering has also been proven to do wonders for the mind, a fact not lost on Marian.
“There are some other volunteers who put in 6-8 hours per month and that’s enough to get them off the couch for a few hours in the day,” says Marian. “I want to encourage everyone to get out and about!”
Involving her eldest granddaughter on her Meals on Wheels run also became one of Marian’s proudest achievements, as her granddaughter went on to become an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) working in aged care following graduation.
“It was great for her to speak with the elderly clients and to understand them and vice versa,” says Marian. “I think the relationships she formed while volunteering with me, really helped her to decide on her future career and I’m very proud I helped with that decision.”
For further information about Lendlease Retirement Living, please connect with our Customer Support Team on 1800 550 550.