A happy senior volunteer helping pack donations into cardboard boxes on a sunny day

Volunteering is a popular activity among active adults who enjoy spending their free time helping others in need.

Retirement is a great time for traveling, taking up new hobbies, and spending more time with family and friends. It's also a great time to get involved with volunteering. Volunteering lets you support your favorite causes, while also making new friends and trying new things. Best of all, helping others is a noble pastime that can be good for your own health and wellbeing.

Abruptly stepping away from your daily work life without a plan may leave you feeling like you have no sense of purpose. While hobbies and travel plans are a great part of your new lifestyle, you may also want to carve out some time for volunteering.

Volunteer Your Skills

A senior woman smiling while sitting on a couch and teaching a young girl to play flute

Think about your skills when looking for volunteer opportunities.

There are many different ways to volunteer. You can help at a community school or library, work at a theater or museum, visit patients in a hospital or nursing home, or serve meals at a homeless shelter. Also, charities often need help with fundraisers and office tasks, or you could help support a local political candidate.

Think about your skills when looking for volunteer opportunities. Do you like organizing events? Do you have experience with fundraising? If you were a teacher, you might volunteer your time as a tutor. If you're an artist or musician, perhaps you could offer free lessons to kids who couldn't otherwise afford to learn.

Volunteer With Others

You may be able to join a group focused on volunteering or start your own group.

It's often easier to start volunteering if you sign up with a friend. Talk to your friends to find a shared interest in particular causes or decide on a few areas where you would like to help. If you live in an active adult community, you may be able to join a group focused on volunteering or start your own group.

You can also find volunteer opportunities by looking online. VolunteerMatch.org lets you search for opportunities based on your interests and location. If you love to travel and want to see the world, GoEco.org has worldwide projects that are specifically designed for volunteers over the age of 50.

Volunteering Close to Home

A cardboard donation box with food on a wooden floor

If you would rather make a donation, there are many things you can do.

If you would rather make a donation, there are many things you can do without leaving your home. You can knit or crochet items for charities, donate a handmade quilt or other craft for a raffle, or bake treats for a local bake sale. You can save labels and coupons for local school programs, donate blood through the American Red Cross, or make regular phone calls to sick or elderly neighbors.

Volunteering is a beautiful way to add purpose to your retirement years while making a difference in someone else's life. Look for opportunities that align with your interests and you'll be sure to find rewarding experiences.