5 Important Benefits from Volunteering over 60

7 Great Reasons to Volunteer Overseas over 60

So here we are at a next phase in our lives.  We’re retired.  Most of us are reasonably healthy, full of life, and engaged in the world.  We want to make a positive difference, so something special and meaningful.  But this doesn’t mean we have to sit back and drink coffee, lunch with friends, so to early-bird dinner specials and leave the fun to others.

Many of us are breaking the mold of what it’s like to be over 60.  We’re starting businesses, traveling the world and entering into new relationships. We want to make a positive difference and do something meaningful.  Volunteering overseas is an option we all need to consider.

Why us?

Research tells us that people over 50 are the best demographic for charitable donations.  People in this age group have accumulated and grown throughout their lives, and are now ready to give back.  The best examples of this are Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who are now distributing their accumulated wealth to make the world a better place.  Their project include eradicating polio on the planet, and empowering the poor of Africa to overcome poverty and disease.

While we may not be billionaires downsizing our portfolio, we do have something wonderful to offer those less fortunate in faraway places.  We can volunteer overseas.  There are many worthy charities that desperately need help with the basic everyday skills we all have.  From animal and child care, to gardening, renovating, painting, as well as teamwork for organizing and managing groups of people. The needs are endless.

Here are 7 great reasons to volunteer overseas

1 – Feels good to give back

All the money in the world can’t compensate for the good feelings we get when we help those less fortunate overcome their hardship. Don’t you love how you feel when you see that big smile on the face of the child you helped, the mother you supported, or the man you found work for.  We all love to feel good.  Giving back feels good.

2 – Gives us purpose

Volunteering overseas gives us something ongoing to do with a set of activities and a schedule for doing them.  It’s more regular than volunteering once a week at a nearby hospice or animal shelter.  Most overseas volunteering opportunities involve a daily work routine which mitigates boredom and/or the onset of depression that many fall into from a lack of purpose felt after retiring.

3 – Lets us explore our passions

The majority of us didn’t have careers that let us explore our passions.  We had to find jobs that paid the bills.  Feeding cats just doesn’t pay the electricity, water and rent due each month. There are many opportunities with organizations involved in animal care, gardening, basic construction and athletic activities.  We can explore our passions, while giving back.

4 – Makes us feel valuable

As we get older and our ‘work life’ ends, we can begin to feel useless, that we are no longer needed.  Volunteering helps us find value in our lives.  It improves both our self-value and self-esteem.  Through volunteering we feel we are positively contributing to society.  We see value in our efforts and that it is important to something bigger than ourselves.

5– Puts adventure and excitement in our lives

Our activities and interactions begin to shrink with retirement and our children leaving the nest.  Life calms down however sometimes this calm can lead to boredom and depression. Volunteer overseas provides an adventure that puts excitement into our lives.  This provides a welcome break from a mundane daily routine that we get stuck in.

6 – Allows us to learn new things

We are never too old to learn new things, but often it is a challenge to go out and take a course.  There are endless choices for on-line learning but deciding what course to take can be daunting.  Volunteering allows us to learn new skills and techniques.  We can explore our passions and hone in on aspects that are not available from our living rooms.  Whether you are volunteering with children, animals, or another aspect of community life, you are always learning new things and new ways to do old things. The learning is reinforced and refined each day.  And often we can enhance our learning by exploring new and continuing volunteering opportunities.

7 – Opens up new possibilities for the future

Our future does not have to become boring and uneventful as we age.  Volunteering overseas gives us a chance to shape our future and fill it with meaning and value.  This helps us look forward to the future.  We can consider overseas volunteering for an adventure with a friend, a summer project or even use it as a break from the cold winter months.  The possibilities are endless. There are many excellent charities that need people for overseas volunteering.

Volunteering at Lanta Animal Welfare

 Lanta Animal Welfare, an animal rescue charity in southern Thailand, provides a perfect opportunity for senior people to volunteer to care for rescue cats and dogs. There are also opportunities for interacting with the local Thais, with the visitors to the rescue and contributing to marketing and outreach initiatives.  The work isn’t difficult and you volunteer with others from all over the planet.  Like most charities in the third-world it offers accommodation and a small stipend for food for the long-term volunteers, and for those taking on some of the supervisor and management roles.  Check out their Website and consider volunteering with them:  http://www.lantaanimalwelfare.com/support-us/become-volunteer/

Seriously consider volunteering overseas

This is something we can all consider and explore.  It can be as physical or as passive as we want.  We can indulge our passions and interests as we make a positive contribution to those in need.

How good is that?

This article was originally published in the Sixty and Me Website.  Click this link to go to the publication of this article.

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