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You can make a difference

Posted October 01, 2014 in Advice Column, Urbandale

Staying active promotes overall improved health. We all know this to be a fact. We talk about exercise as a means to stay active.  We strive to keep our minds stimulated which is a vital part of staying healthy.

Yet another key to healthy aging and to human happiness is finding and keeping a sense of purpose in life.  Everyone needs a reason for getting up in the morning.

I challenge you to consider community service as a means to stay active and provide a sense of purpose in life. Many aging adults volunteer in their communities as a way of “giving back” to society in appreciation for the supports they themselves have received. It now appears that in addition to “giving back,” people gain many benefits from volunteering. Evidence is mounting to support that people who volunteer tend to live longer and live better. The sense of satisfaction in “helping,” the meaningful connection to others and the pleasure of having something interesting to do each day — these all contribute to a positive impact on health and vitality.

Volunteering in your community engages you in an opportunity to continue to grow and be creative all while “giving back” to others.  Knowing that you are giving your time, talents, wisdom and experience, gives you the sense of purpose and adds value to your life.

Volunteering strengthens your community. As a volunteer you help support families, improve schools, support our youth, beautify the community and the list goes on and on. When considering community service, be knowledgeable and aware of your passions and skill sets. These specifics will enable you to identify what area of volunteering is best for you.  Determine what talents and experiences you are most interested in sharing with others. Next, determine where, when and how you’ll share your talents and experiences. The opportunities are endless.

Here are a few of the gratifying benefits of volunteering:
•    It promotes personal growth.
•    It makes you think about what are the needs in the community.
•    It brings people together. You meet others you may have not had the opportunity to yet meet.
•    Volunteering strengthens your community by offering support.
•    You can learn from the others you are working with.
•    You can give back.

Someone who has had a lifetime of work and experience behind them must feel good when they can use that previous knowledge to improve the life of another individual.

You can make a difference.

Information provided by Susan Ray, executive director, The Reserve Urbandale, 2727 82nd Place, Urbandale, 515-727-5927

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