Volunteering Helps Keep Seniors Healthy, New Study Suggests

Thursday, February 7, 2019 Senior Health News
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Older adults show reduced depression and loneliness, increased life satisfaction after serving as Foster Grandparent or Senior Companion

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A new independent report that provides evidence that consistent volunteering

can improve the health and well-being of people age 55 and older was released by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for the nation's volunteer and service efforts.

The research examined how participation in national service contributes to changes in the health and well-being of Senior Corps volunteers in the Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent programs. Senior Companions help home-bound seniors maintain independence and Foster Grandparents mentor young children in need.  

"I'm thrilled with the release of this independent study because it confirms what we have long believed to be true: Senior Corps volunteers are not only improving the lives of others, they are also improving their own," said Deborah Cox-Roush, director of Senior Corps. "These volunteers are feeling healthier and less depressed. What's also exciting is they say they feel less socially isolated, which we know has important health benefits. Along the way, Senior Corps volunteers found a sense of accomplishment, opportunities for personal growth, and chances to form meaningful relationships."

According to the research, Senior Corps volunteers report much higher self-rated health scores (84 percent), which is considered a valid marker of actual health, compared to older adults in similar circumstances who do not volunteer. They also reported feeling significantly less depressed and isolated (78 percent) compared to non-volunteers. The companion study determined that caregivers found the assistance of Senior Companions beneficial (76 percent) and for some, the respite provided by a volunteer even improved their health (40 percent).

"Our Senior Corps volunteers have a decades-long history of setting examples for all of us to follow by serving our friends and neighbors," said Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers the Senior Corps program. "These 220,000 men and women provide vital support to Americans, both young and young-at-heart, and reap health benefits in return. We are grateful for the generosity of our super seniors and their commitment to making a difference in their communities."

More information on this research and Senior Corps programs is available at seniorcorps.gov/healthyvolunteers. B-roll and other media assets are available upon request.

 

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/volunteering-helps-keep-seniors-healthy-new-study-suggests-300791750.html

SOURCE Corporation for National and Community Service



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