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A Rich Retirement

Whether it is you who is approaching those golden years we call retirement or one of your loved ones is in those years, there is no question that making that transition from the working world and decades of responsibility and hard work is not always easy. The sudden change of lifestyle and that feeling of “no longer being useful” is one of the most difficult aspects of retirement and growing older. When you combine that with reduced activity and the natural decline in physical ability that aging brings, you have a powerful emotional transition to go through. That is why people who actively counsel the elderly have learned that the most positive thing a person can do to combat that depression and sense of “uselessness” that plaques retirees is to make themselves useful. And there is no better place for them to do that than in community service. There are a variety of great reasons that volunteerism among the elderly is such a great idea.

And if you are in a position to counsel an aging family member or friend, it is important to remember that doing community service is not all about being charitable and helping out the down and out. It is just as much about the health and well-being of the retiree as it is for the good of the community and the people in it. By getting out into the community and finding rewarding ways to perform community service, that sense of “being needed” and being a part of something is given back to the retiree. Community service and the retirement set are a perfect match for each other. People who are staffing community service projects are always in need of an army of qualified and mature help, especially from those who have sufficient time to really do a good job with a community service project.

This is just right for retiree who if anything suffers with too much time on their hands. Too often, that time can be turned to self-pity or indulging in less than healthy lifestyle choice. Community service is, after all, “work”. And as a people who are enjoying their rewards from a lifetime of work, this is just the thing to transition to a life of retirement. Community service can also call upon the elderly to participate in some level of physical activity. Now your local community service coordinator can make sure that their elderly volunteers are given assignments appropriate to their physical abilities. But just getting out there and greeting others, reading to the blind, helping with a food or blood drive or jumping in where they can on a big community project gets the blood moving and maybe just the right kind of exercise they need to stay active and healthy. Community service also provides opportunities to socialize with people of all ages and social backgrounds. One of the greatest dangers of a retirement lifestyle is the loneliness and isolation stepping out of the working world causes. Even if the elderly person lives in a retirement community, the chance to socialize with younger people and people of many backgrounds and orientations is tremendously healthy for the mental stability of one in that stage of life.

The benefits to the retiree of getting involved in community service are many. But giving that retired person that sense of personal value and worth that they have come to expect from each day’s work is valuable beyond measurement. Many community service projects are short term so the volunteers get that immediate gratification that gives anyone a boost, but even more so a retiree who feels left out and not useful. Community service may be just the medicine to cure those ills. PPPPP 623 .


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