In April of 2013 the US Federal Government’s “Volunteering in the United States” report revealed that the number of volunteers had dropped from the 2011 guide for the age group of seniors (45 years – 64 years). Why is this in a time when people are living longer as well as in much better health and wellness than former generations? Allow us to take a look at some possible reasons:
1. Too Busy – with pension plans disappearing people in this age group are still employed and they might need to keep working right into their 70s or until their health slows them down. However, there are many people who have totally free time and are looking for meaningful activities.
2. Commitments to parents as well as kids – Baby boomers are truly placed as the “sandwich generation” with maturing parents still alive but typically requiring help as well as kids who can not find jobs and are still at home or requiring monetary assistance. In former generations moms and dads died earlier as well as kids had jobs they were excited to pursue, typically far from their childhood home communities.
3. Desire for skills-based volunteer work – Richard Eisenberg writing for Forbes Magazine mentions that seniors desire meaningful jobs, not just busy work.
But I think a key reason is that many boomers haven’t found ways they can volunteer the way they want to, by putting their talents and skills to use, rather than by stuffing envelopes, answering phones and donating food.
Here’s some evidence backing up my contention that boomers like providing meaningful assistance when they volunteer: According to the Volunteering in the United States survey, “providing professional or management assistance, including serving on a board or committee” is the second most popular form of volunteering for Americans over 55, after “collecting, preparing, distributing or serving food.”
He mentions that people who have actually retired from $500/hour jobs don’t wish to work for $10/hour type tasks. While the upper tiers of wage earners could remain on as professionals or even better, continue to work part-time, there are still lots of workers who are required to retire at 65 or at the very least 70 years old.
Here are some fantastic resources for people who are seeking meaningful, challenging jobs that will keep their minds as well as bodies active, eliminate isolation as well as allow them to “give back” to their communities. These are neighborhood directory sites that guide baby boomers to skills-based volunteering. One is Points Of Light that handles 250 service projects in 29 various nations. With age comes life knowledge as well as a stability that is so helpful to others living in much less privileged circumstances. Two other companies collaborating with Points of Light are Generation On as well as Hands On Network.
With Google at the service of everyone nowadays it’s simple to find such companies in local communities – everything from volunteer teaching to assisting unemployed workers to accomplish job success or assisting the elderly to remain in their houses. Minnesota has begun Minnesota Boomer Corp and they recruit people who can dedicate 10 hours weekly. The US government has developed a Senior Corps Program, modeled after the Peace Corps, based on skills-based volunteering. Everybody has become aware that here is a great resource of free knowledgeable labor that can be used positively.