After retirement, it can be easy to get sucked into a routine. Work is often a big part of one’s social life, and when you retire, you don’t see as many people on a daily basis. Extroverts and introverts alike can miss this time socializing, and having friends and a good support structure are essential for your mental and physical well-being. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health reveals that people with an active social life have slower rates of memory decline. Memory loss is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, which affects one in nine Americans ages 65 and older. If you’re looking for ways to stay healthy and get involved in your community, one of these federal programs may be just the ticket!
Foster Grandparent Program
If you are 55 or older, you’re eligible to become a foster grandparent! These volunteers work between 15 and 40 hours a week at hospitals, schools, daycares, and Head Start centers to help care for children, tutor them, and act as a mentor. Whether you’re interested in caring for a premature infant, teaching a young child to read, or mentoring a troubled teen, foster grandparents are essential members of the community. You’ll receive meals while volunteering, and low-income volunteers may also receive a small stipend.
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is one of the largest volunteer networks in the country for people ages 55 and older. There are a wide variety of jobs and roles that experienced people like you can fill. Develop new talents, or use the skills you’ve relied on for years as you serve the community and stay active and healthy in the process. You give what you can, whether that’s a couple of hours a month or 40 hours a week. Former law enforcement officers may enjoy organizing and recruiting for neighborhood watch programs. If you’re great with your hands, you can volunteer to help renovate homes for low-income residents. Retired teachers might be especially well-equipped to teach English as a second language or tutor disadvantaged youth. Retirees have many valuable skills to contribute to society, and this program allows you to continue to develop those skills, or to follow new passions. The best part? You’re helping both yourself and your neighborhood.
Senior companions work with adults who have disabilities or issues that cause them to have difficulties with daily living tasks. As the name implies, a senior companion provides friendship and assistance with basic everyday chores, so that these adults can live in their homes independently without having to move into an institution. Many disabled adults are taken care of by their families or caregivers, and a senior companion can give these caregivers a much-needed respite. Any U.S. citizen ages 55 or older can become a senior companion, and you may qualify for a tax-free hourly stipend.
Volunteering has benefits that echo far beyond your own mental and physical health. By contributing to your community, you are creating a legacy that impacts not just those you are helping, but their families and caregivers as well. If you find yourself with extra hours during the day, why not try one of these programs?
At HealthMarkets, we are dedicated to the health of those in our community. Part of this means making sure that you have the health insurance you need. If you’re struggling to decipher all those letters and abbreviations in different Medicare policies, call HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. We’re here to help you – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.