Let me tell you about George. George lived in Washington State and has recently retired. While working he could light up a room with his smile and enjoyed spending time with his girlfriend and friends on the weekend. George’s hobby included serving as a foster for puppies and dogs. His home in Washington had a lot of space and he was able to foster the puppies and dogs until they could be adopted.
Like many new Floridians, George realized that he did not like the cold anymore so he decided to retire in the Sunshine State. He did not have any friends or family in Florida so it was just him and his girlfriend. Eventually, his girlfriend got a job and George was left to himself every day. George was renting so he was not able to foster anymore and this left a void for him. He was feeling lonely and longed for the companionship fostering once gave him and the friends it introduced him to. Over time he found himself feeling depressed and wondered if any other seniors felt that way too.
Well, there are many seniors that feel the same way that George does; in the United States, Americans aged 65 and older are the fastest growing population. According to a 2019 article in the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Florida’s senior population is growing at twice the rate of other age groups in the state (Wunderlich, E., 2019). Many Baby Boomers who are either partially or fully retiring, find that it is important for their both physical and mental health to keep active and one way of keeping active is volunteerism. Volunteering is not just good for your community and the people you help, but also a great way to keep physically fit and mentally sharp. Research has shown people who volunteer report fewer feelings of isolation (88%), stable or improved health (84%) and fewer symptoms of depression (78%) (Senior Corps & Health Benefits, n.d.).
So let’s check back in with George. He came to a volunteer event and learned about Volunteers for Community Impact’s (VCI) RSVP program. Retired & Senior Volunteer Program engages volunteers 55 and older to help out local non-profit organizations. George was excited to learn that a local animal adoption center needed volunteers to work with their animals. George found a volunteer opportunity with us that allowed him to walk dogs at the adoption center. George told me he also met other volunteers there and after his shift he explores his new home town a little more each day.
How can you be like George? If you’re 55 or older, then give VCI a call! For more information on our RSVP Program,(Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties) please contact Volunteer for Community Impact at 407-823-4180 or visit our website at https://volunteersforcommunityimpact.org/
Phone (407) 823-4180