It’s no secret that volunteering is a good thing. After all, volunteers help to feed people who are hungry, find families for homeless pets, and do all sorts of other good works.
But, did you know that volunteering can be just as good for the person doing it as it is for those they help? For example, a new study shows that volunteering can help seniors to prevent developing dementia.
Volunteering and Dementia
The study involved more than 64,000 people who were aged 60 and older and was called the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study. As part of the study, participants took cognitive tests. The researchers found that people who did at least 100 hours of volunteer work per year (just 2 hours per week) scored higher on the tests than people who didn’t volunteer.
This wasn’t the first study to show a link between brain health and volunteering. Another study that took place in Sweden showed that volunteering lowered the risk of retirees getting dementia. Researchers in that study also discovered that to be effective for improving brain health, the participants had to volunteer on a regular basis. And, they found that the non-paid work had to be for the benefit of someone outside the participant’s family, such as work done for a church, non-profit agency, or school.
Other Health Benefits of Volunteering…
-Reducing the risks of dementia isn’t the only health benefit seniors can get from volunteering. Being a volunteer also has these benefits:
Reduces Depression: One study showed that 70 percent of people who reported symptoms of depression had fewer symptoms after volunteering for one year.
More Social Connection: Around two-thirds of older adults who volunteer through an organization called Senior Corps report feeling less lonely and having more social connections.
Less Disability: Seniors who volunteer typically experience less physical disability than those who do not.
Physical Activity: Some kinds of volunteering provide physical activity for seniors, such as taking care of animals at the local shelter or stocking shelves at a food pantry.
Considering that volunteering can keep older adults healthier, when your aging relative volunteers, it may also lighten your load as a family caregiver. When seniors are more physically able to do things, they can better care for themselves, which may reduce the amount of time family caregivers have to spend on caregiving duties. As a caregiver, you may also notice your aging relative’s mood improve as they feel a better sense of purpose and joy in helping others.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home Senior care in Fort Gratiot, MI, please contact the caring staff at Crystal Cares Home Care today. Call (810) 882-9915.
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