When we utter the word “retirement”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? White-haired couples, holding hands, walking barefoot on the beach, or sitting on a patio and watching the sunset, or playing with grandchildren – these are probably the most common images that flash through our minds. But times are changing. With the progression of the healthcare industry over the years, the life expectancy of people have increased. We have a greater chance of living beyond 80’s or even 90’s as compared to before. Hence post 60, retired professionals are often quite hale and hearty yet do not know how to use their spare time. Here are a few charitable organizations that would benefit a lot from volunteer work. If only retired persons can lend their time to these places, then it would help them be productive with their free time. Here are the places where they can volunteer:
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit organization that strives to eradicate the problem of homelessness among less-privileged people. A person who wants to be a homeowner has to do 500 hours of work which is known as the sweat equity and is counted as a down payment against the house they are going to own. The rest is paid in installments which do not exceed 30% of the household’s monthly income (in the USA). Even the money received towards the payment of the house is used to build another one for a similar family. Quite naturally, volunteers play a big role here. Several retirees drive the RV that goes around the country to help build the houses. Often, they get tax benefits for working here.
United Service Organization
The military protects the country from all kinds of foreign invasions, making them true superheroes who don’t wear capes to prove their bravery. Established in 1941, the United Service Organization or USO is a non-profit organization that works to make life a bit easier for the military and their families. Volunteers are needed to welcome war veterans at the airport. Aside from that, they also help veterans in various other ways — lending out a helping hand while they are travelling, providing them with food and drink if they are stuck in an airport, or when they are back home after at a USO office. Volunteers also help veterans who are homeless or wounded and might need medical assistance.
Foster Grandparents Program ( Senior Corps)
As the name of the program suggests, volunteers need to be 55 and above, and must be connected to children from school or youth facilities. Through this program, a senior and a child grow closer over the years with the senior working as a mentor to the child. Retirees who stay far off from their grandchildren will especially love this. It has also been proven scientifically that children with grandparents or seniors with grandchildren are in better mental health than those without. Apart from the Senior Corps, Big Brothers Big Sisters is another organization that has a similar program.
Another unique and amazing way to volunteer is definitely voluntourism. Travel-addicts who have crossed the threshold of 60 itching to see the world will probably love this program. They can actually do some good while they travel. Road Scholar is a non-profit organization that caters to the elderly mostly. They provide travel options that are educational as well. Moreover, they have special tours only for grandparents with their grandchildren. The itineraries are tailored accordingly. They have several scholarship programs for those who cannot afford it.
Meals On Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a well-known program for seniors who are stuck at home and cannot afford or cook healthy, nutritious food for themselves anymore. Home-made food cooked by volunteers are delivered to specific homes of aging seniors. The Meals On Wheels America supports almost 5000 individuals. Just like most meals are made for seniors who are either too sick or old to cook for themselves, the meals can also be made by seniors who are still healthy and active. Lots of drivers are also needed to drive the trucks to the houses for delivery. Hence, volunteers are always welcome here.
Old age is not just for sitting around and moping. In fact, those who have reached the twilight of their lives still have so much to give out to the world and experience for themselves. Also, it has been found that keeping your body and mind active is good for your health overall. Now, who wouldn’t like that? You’re not only doing good to yourself but also for others! So, choose a program you think you’ll enjoy, and go for it!