Healthy Tahoe: Improved health through volunteering

Larry Coffman

On April 17-23, during National Volunteer Week, we celebrate the extraordinary volunteers who donate their time and talents throughout the year to improve our community.

This is also a time to amplify the importance of volunteerism, which is not only a generous gesture of goodwill and selflessness, but has been found to contribute in many ways to a better life.

Larry Coffman

There are both tangible and immeasurable benefits to volunteering. Sense of purpose, longevity and personal connection are some of the takeaways that contribute to better mental health. Volunteering also yields better physical health —including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.

According to the Mayo Clinic, research has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression, especially for individuals age 65 and older. Volunteering increases social interaction and helps build a support system based on common interests —both of which have been shown to decrease depression.

Though the landscape of volunteering has changed due to the pandemic, there are ways to get involved from the comfort of your home. With as little as an operable phone, volunteers can continue to devote their time in meaningful ways and help find purpose in their everyday lives.

Whatever your passions or skills are, there are opportunities and organizations that benefit from the gift of your time. While improving the lives of others, you can improve your health in the process.

Larry Coffman is the Barton Auxiliary President. Learn more about current and future volunteer opportunities at Barton Health by calling 530.543.5728 or visiting

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