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Seniors Volunteerism, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 774

Research Paper

Abstract

This paper discusses volunteerism in seniors taking into consideration the pros and cons, statistics and other factors that can give an overview of volunteering among the members of the aging population. More specifically, this paper discusses the impact of volunteering on the health of seniors and their quality of life.

Impact of Volunteering on the Health of Seniors and Their Quality of Life

The seniors’ population in the United States of America and in all other parts of the world has been rapidly growing over the last century. In the beginning of the 20th century, the aging population contributed to the 4% of the overall American population. Presently, the population has grown to 13% which is considered to be a huge jump from what the population is like in the beginning of the 20th century (Ahern & Hendryx, 2010). The statistics is expected to grow even more in the years and decades to come. In this regard, there is a need for the development of various researches that can identify the ways in which the society and the government can help and support the ageing process without compromising the quality of life.

It is a known fact that as the population gets older, the decline in health and physical limitations follow. It is in this situation where seniors are engaging into a sedentary form of lifestyle that only increases the risk of suicide, health decline, and other forms of increased health problems. Researchers have found out that the social isolation and lack of activities contribute more to the decline of seniors’ health rather than the biological and natural course of aging. The physical inactivity of the seniors can lead to the acquisition of diseases such as chronic heart disease, arthritis, stroke, cancer and mental health problems among the many others. But then again, studies have also shown that the physical deterioration and mental health problems associated with the aging process can be mitigated through the implementation of pre-emptive interventions. One of the most implemented interventions that are being used to support the aging population is the volunteering among the seniors. This paper will focus on the impact of volunteering on the seniors’ health and their quality of life.

It is imperative to note that the quality of life of seniors is not being determined nor measured by their physical health. Rather, the determination of quality of life goes beyond the physical limit of one’s existence and health status. It is how seniors’ lived their life regardless of the deterioration of their health. It is how they prosper in their individual and also community relationships including reciprocity. The quality of life among the seniors can be achieved successfully through volunteering (Okun, 1993). This is due to the fact, that the seniors are being given the chance to remain active despite certain limitations. A social life and physical activity provides health benefits not just to the seniors but to all people regardless of their age. Researches have shown that volunteering can help in the reduction of psychological distress such as depression and anxiety among the seniors. Mortality rate declines as well among seniors who volunteer. Volunteering is also a stress buffer for seniors. Through volunteering, the seniors are given the chance to forget their health issues and give back to the community. Retirement does not have to mean isolation. Seniors need social life as well to remain mentally and physically active (Skarupsi & Pelkowski, 2003).

Studies have also shown that 57.5% of volunteer works available to the seniors involve caregiving or helping out other people while 13.8% involve volunteering for an organization. Statistics also has it that 80.8% of the total senior volunteers are committed to doing volunteer works once a week while only 15.4%  were dedicated to do a daily volunteer work. Yet, it cannot be denied that the volunteering works of the seniors are helping them stay active and healthy. There are no negative impacts that can be attributed to this activity. Researchers and studies have, time and again, revealed that volunteering will help the seniors to attain quality of life despite physical limitations and illnesses that are part of the aging process (Hill, 1996)

References

Ahern, M. & Hendryx, M. (2010). Community participation and the emergence of late-life depressive symptoms: Differences between men and women. Journal of Women’s Health, 17: 1463-1470.

Hill, P. (1996). Distressed and lonely: Health and social determinants among residents in seniors housing. Journal of Clinical Geropsychology, 2: 51-60.

Okun, M. (1993). Predictors of volunteer status in a retirement community. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 36(1): 57-74.

Skarupsi, K. & Pelkowski, J. (2003). Multipurpose seniors centers: Opportunities for community health nursing. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 20(2): 119-133.

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