Did you know that volunteering is good for you? It is! Volunteering has many mental and physical health benefits. Volunteering increases self-confidence, doing good things for others makes you feel better about yourself, boosting self-esteem and life satisfaction. Volunteering also reduces the risk of depression. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation, and volunteering ensures that you have regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system. Volunteering also benefits your physical health. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
Sounds great eh? So sign me up! But where to volunteer?
When choosing an organization in which to volunteer, there are some obvious choices. Is there an issue that is important to you? Be it political, social or a health issue that you or a loved one is or has faced? Also consider what your current skills are, how can you best use your talents or do you want to learn new skills. Another factor to consider is, will you get to see and feel the impact your volunteering is having on the community and or individuals. This brings me to my choice. Meals on Wheels!
Meals on Wheels London provides fresh hot meals, or frozen meals to seniors and those living with disabilities to enable them to remain independent in their homes. Meals on Wheels also provides transportation to medical appointments, listen to my interview with Christine Poier and Laura Christie on the Savvy Senior Show about Meals on Wheels’ transportation program. With all of these services Meals on Wheels relies heavily on volunteers I believe the number is around 360, and they require more.
I was on the Board of Directors for six years and had the opportunity to meet many of the extraordinary volunteers at Meals on Wheels. Many of the volunteers had been there for several years. When I say several I don’t mean two or three, I mean five to ten, fifteen and even twenty, one year we recognized a woman who had volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 40 years. YES FORTY!
Now how is it that this organization retains volunteers for so long? It is explained in this one little phrase that I have heard from many of the volunteers that I have met at Meals on Wheels. “I think I get more out of it then the clients do!” The volunteers feel that they get so much personal satisfaction from helping others and seeing how they are benefitting the Meals on Wheels clients that, the benefit outweighs the actual help they are providing. I think that part of this is because the volunteers have direct contact with the clients Meals on Wheels serves, whether it is delivering meals or providing rides to a medical appointment. Meals on Wheels volunteers and clients build relationships with each other and become friends, and what could be better than helping a friend?
If you are interested in volunteering at Meals on Wheels London call 519-660-1430 or follow this link http://www.meals-on-wheels.ca/
Christian Bullas, Owner of Senior Homecare by Angels London