Volunteer Your Services to Live Longer
Boomers are retiring. But what are they retiring to? A life of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Physical and mental decline is usually the case in retired folks. And how sad is that after spending so many years working towards retirement, only to die a couple of years later, or worse, to live with debilitating conditions. There are some ways to keep the mind active and sharp as well as the body. With all that knowledge, why not volunteer your services?
As a baby boomer, I have noticed some decline in my short-term memory. I can usually recall what happened to me in the fourth grade, but I can’t remember where I put my glasses, keys or whether or not I took my medicine this morning. My father is 83 years young. He has remained active and is still very sharp and witty. He gardens, rides his bike and volunteers at the Missionary Training Center in Provo each week escorting lone missionaries to dental and doctor appointments they need before they go to their mission field. He also volunteered at an elementary school where my sister teaches special needs children by reading to them once a week. He also teaches a Driver’s Education Course to Seniors for the AARP. My parents also served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Wisconsin.
In the LDS church, senior couples volunteer to serve missions from one year to two years. Some of them enjoy it so much they go on several missions. The procedure is to apply for a mission, wait for a call from the prophet, and then go to wherever they are needed the most. They pay all living expenses themselves. Some report after their missions that it was the most rewarding thing they have ever done.
These volunteers can serve as teachers, electricians, health workers, welfare or humanitarian services workers, public relations officers, music leaders, church security, material managers, family history experts, military relations workers, public relationship officers, family services, accountants, temple builders, farmers and many other missions. Usually they are called to do something similar to what they spent their whole life doing so they can share all the wisdom they have acquired throughout their lives.
What I have noticed about these older couples is that they work together as a team, keep a very positive outlook and an attitude of service. It shines through their eyes even though their physique is starting to deteriorate. I have worked in a hospital before and admire the seniors who volunteer their time to cheer up the sick by visiting or making the rounds giving out magazines. Back in my day, they were called candy stripers.
Some older women in our neighborhood volunteer their time to help new mothers. They mentor them on how to take care of their new babies, including breast feeding, bathing, or just being available whenever a question comes up they need answered. The young mothers really appreciate all the advice they receive from these experienced mothers, and the senior ladies enjoy being around young mothers and their babies. It is a win-win situation. Some families do not have their grandparents close by, so older couples can act as foster grandparents to positively influence the children.
- Senior Corps
Seniors are one of America's most vital resources - offering a wealth of experience and energy. Through Senior Corps, nearly half a million Americans age fifty-five and older share their time and talents to help solve local problems as Foster Grandpa
- Corporation for National and Community Service
Created in 1993, the Corporation for National Service is a public-private partnership that engages Americans of all ages in service through three national service initiatives - AmeriCorps, which includes more than 600 local and national programs, Ame