10 Great Types of Volunteer Work for Retirees
You finally reached the age where you can afford to retire. You’ve waited so many years to have the kind of free time that comes with retirement. But now that you have this time, what will you do with it?
If you’re struggling to figure out fun and meaningful ways to fill your days during retirement, a good option to consider is volunteering. Volunteer work gives you a chance to give back to your community and it provides opportunities to meet new people and learn new things.
There are a lot of different types of volunteer work out there. If you could use some help figuring out what route to take, here are 10 types of volunteer work that are good for retirees:
1. Become a Meals on Wheels driver.
If you’re comfortable and safe driving, then you can help out other seniors by volunteering with Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels drivers perform an important service: making sure that people who would otherwise struggle to get enough company and food have the accessibility to both. This type of volunteer work enables you to make new connections and know you’re fulfilling a real need.
2. Become a mentor.
While age brings its share of difficulties, one of the best things about getting older is being able to recognize all that you’ve learned over the years. If you like the idea of sharing some of that knowledge with someone younger, then mentorship is a good way to do that. Look into programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters or The National Mentoring Partnership that will help match you up with young people in need of mentors.
If you’d prefer to do mentoring for adults in your industry who may benefit from professional guidance, look into professional organizations in your area. Many will have some sort of mentoring program or will be able to put you in touch with young professionals who’d appreciate your sound advice.
3. Become a museum docent.
Many museums rely on volunteer docents to help visitors to the exhibits get more out of their experience there. Being a docent offers you the opportunity to learn all about a new subject and impart valuable information to others. If that’s the kind of thing that sounds great to you, then this type of volunteer work is likely to be a good fit.
If you already have a favorite museum nearby, then start there. Check the website to see what sort of volunteer opportunities they have, or call them up and ask if they have a volunteer program for docents. If you don’t know yet what museums are in your area, do a Google search to see what comes up. Once you’ve identified your options, you get to do some fun research: go visit any museum that looks interesting to you, so you can figure out if it’s a good one to volunteer with. Once you find one you like, ask them about what volunteer positions they have.
4. Foster animals.
A big need animal shelters have is temporary homes for their animals while they look for the right permanent homes for them. If you’re able to take cats or dogs in (even if it’s just one at a time), you’ll be helping them make their resources go further and improve the animals’ lives in the meantime.
If you know you love animals and are willing to put the effort and time in to take good care of them, then check with your local shelter about becoming a foster owner for their animals.
5. Host an exchange student.
Do you miss having someone young around the house? You can host an exchange student in your home. Student exchange programs give you a chance to meet someone new and potentially forge a valuable lifelong relationship with them. You can learn about their culture while you help them learn about yours.
It involves some work and you have to be willing to put in the effort to help take care of them and teach them the culture, but if that sounds like a great experience to you, it can be an extremely awarding one. There are a few websites you can check to look for students planning to come to your area that need a home:
6. Join Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity is another organization doing important work. A shelter is one of the most basic needs we all have and Habitat for Humanity helps make it more accessible to people in need. Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity both means that you’re helping people and that you’re helping build something tangible – which can bring a real sense of satisfaction. As with a lot of these volunteer options, it’s a great way to meet new people and stay social.
7. Join Senior Corps.
Senior Corps volunteers provide a range of services to the community. They help mentor young people, support relief teams during disasters and aid caregivers and seniors who need some extra help. If you like the idea of getting involved in an organization that’s all about stepping in wherever needed in the community, this one may be just right for you.
8. Volunteer abroad.
If you’ve been dreaming about spending your retired years traveling, you can see the world and volunteer at the same time by looking into volunteer abroad opportunities. Volunteer abroad projects can include helping aid in conservation efforts, build structures, provide medical care and teach English.
See which programs and projects look like a good fit for your skills and the experience you’d like to have and sign up.
9. Volunteer with USO.
The USO is dedicated to providing help to service members, veterans and their families in a variety of ways. If you want to find a way to give back to the troops, volunteering with the USO is a good choice. You can help brighten the days of active service members and provide needed help around the base.
10. Walk dogs at the shelter.
You know what’s good for you? Going for daily walks. If you like animals, you can turn those walks into a way to help out animals that need some exercise and love. Animal shelters almost always need dog walkers. If you can commit to coming in to take the dogs they have out for a stroll, you’ll be making the dog’s life better while boosting your own health at the same time.
Volunteering is a great way to stay active, learn new things and meet new people. If you’re looking to find ways to fill your days and stay involved in your community, figure out the right type of volunteer work for you and get started.