A recent study shows that for adults over 65, active volunteer work combines clear structure, collective purpose and increases in cognitive, social and physical activity that improves brain function and reduces the risk of dementia.
Regular volunteer work makes older adults
2.5 times less likely to experience dementia.
Seniors who volunteer continuously (once a month or more) are significantly less likely to need anti-dementia treatment and have fewer cognitive complaints than seniors who volunteer occasionally or do not volunteer at all.
Haven Toronto is open 365 days a year and relies on volunteers to help deliver a variety of programs including food service, an emergency clothing room and social and recreation activities. In the last year, Haven Toronto has served over 55,000 meals and distributed over 13,000 articles of clothing.
Karl, a senior volunteer at Haven Toronto, writes, "I am a retired teacher. I am responsible for running pool tournaments each month at Haven Toronto. Social programs promote inclusion and help to build connections in the community, breaking down the "us and them" mentality."
Karl adds, "What I learned from volunteering at Haven Toronto is, I will never play pool as well as many of the participants and, though my lifestyle situation may be different, we are all the same."
Karl was once homeless and, at the time, remembers thinking, "Being homeless makes if difficult to see yourself as equal to others and deserving of respect."
CLICK HERE to learn more about volunteering at Haven Toronto.
Griep Y., Can Volunteering in Later Life Reduce the Risk of Dementia? A 5-Year Longitudinal Study Among Volunteering and Non-Volunteering Retired Seniors