Loneliness and a lack of purpose is a common complaint among retirees. Once you finally don’t “have” to go to work anymore, some seniors are surprised to experience feelings of depression and emptiness after retirement. Work can also provide an important social outlet that leaves a hole in its absence. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to address these feelings and enjoy your retirement. One great option is volunteer work. Here, we will explore the top 10 volunteer opportunities for retirees. You’ll be able to find more meaning and social interaction in your life, while making a positive difference in the world.
Mentoring and Tutoring
Teach others your skills by spending time mentoring and tutoring! Local schools, community centers, and adult education programs are often looking for volunteers to help out. Even if you don’t consider yourself especially gifted in any one area, you probably have the skills to help a student with math or English homework. You could also help someone in your neighborhood learn a productive hobby, like making jam or crochet.
With all the nonprofit organizations out there, you’re sure to find one that aligns with your passions and interests. Some examples include animal shelters, food banks, homeless shelters, or environmental conservation groups. You can take a more hands-on role by volunteering directly with the animals or community members. For seniors in more remote areas, or those with mobility challenges or health concerns, you can try finding online ways to volunteer with these nonprofit organizations. They may need help with grant writing, making phone calls, or answering emails—all of which can be done remotely.
Hospital and Healthcare Facilities
For healthy and agile seniors, you might consider offering your support and companionship to patients and their families by volunteering at hospitals, hospices, or senior care centers. For example, some hospitals have volunteers who hold premature babies when their parents have to be away at work. You can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives when you volunteer in healthcare.
Many libraries are understaffed and underfunded. See if you can assist with library programs or help organize events. For example, you could host a children’s music hour or read local children books at storytime. You can also provide support to library staff by running book clubs or literacy programs.
National Parks and Conservation
If the outdoors is your passion, volunteer with national or state parks! Volunteer as a park guide, help maintain trails, or assist local conservation organizations.
Disaster Relief Organizations
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of disaster in this world. There is always someone who needs help. Get involved with disaster relief organizations to assist in disaster response efforts, provide support to affected communities, or participate in emergency preparedness initiatives.
Contribute your gardening skills by volunteering at community gardens. If none exist near you, try starting your own! You can teach others about getting started with gardening, sustainable gardening practices, and helping maintain the gardens.
Museums and Art Galleries
Share your passion for arts and culture by volunteering at museums or art galleries, guiding visitors, assisting with exhibits, or conducting research.
The skills you spent decades learning in the workforce can go on to help others who are just starting out, or who need a little help along the way. Offer your business expertise by mentoring entrepreneurs, startups, or individuals seeking career advice through organizations like SCORE or local business development centers.
Community Service Organizations
Join local community service organizations that address a variety of needs in your community, such as United Way or Rotary Club. You could also try organizations like the Red Cross and assist with things like blood drives. Many seniors enjoy volunteering with their local church service organization, too.
Retirement doesn’t have to be a bore. With these top 10 volunteer opportunities for retirees, your life can be full of friends and meaning long after your work days are over.