Healthy Tahoe: Volunteering for a better life
On April 18-24, during National Volunteer Week — observed on the third week of April each year — we celebrate the extraordinary volunteers who donate their time and talents year-round 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.
There are both tangible and immeasurable benefits to volunteering. Sense of purpose, longevity and personal connection are some of the takeaways, but importantly, volunteering can also reduce the risk of depression.
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.
Even 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.
Experts find that volunteering is good for people of all ages, particularly older adults; benefits include higher self-esteem, improved physical health and a greater sense of well-being.
Whatever your passions or skills are, chances are there’s an opportunity and organization that can put them to good use. And remember: You may get as much out of volunteering as the people you help.
Vikki Egry is president of the Barton Auxiliary. Learn more about current and future volunteer opportunities at Barton Health by calling 530-543-5728 or visiting bartonhealth.org/auxiliary.
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