Volunteers make an immeasurable difference in the lives of others. Oftentimes, volunteers perform with the main intention of helping others, but did you know that volunteering can benefit your own health as well? Researchers have attempted to measure the benefits that volunteers receive including positive feelings, referred to as a “helper’s high”, increased trust in others and social interaction. From lowering stress to boosting confidence, research has shown that volunteering offers health benefits, especially for older adults, such as:
- Volunteering decreases the risk of depression:Research has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression, especially for individuals 65 and older.
- Volunteering gives a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills:Volunteers, such as those with CASA, perform critical roles in monitoring cases, mentoring children and reporting to the court about a child’s best interest. Volunteers learn about child welfare, the needs of families and children in our community and resources available to address those needs.
- Volunteering helps people stay active:Volunteer activities get you moving and thinking at the same time. One study found that volunteers reported better physical health than non-volunteers. Older volunteers experience greater increases in life satisfaction as a result.
- Volunteering reduces stress levels:Volunteering may enhance a person’s social networks to buffer stress and reduce risk of disease. By savoring time spent in service to others, you will feel a sense of meaning and appreciation, both given and received, which has a stress-reducing effect.
- Volunteering may help you live longer: An analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging found that individuals who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, even when controlling for age, gender and physical health.
- Volunteering helps you develop new relationships: One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to participate in a shared activity. Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people who share common interests with you and dedicating your time as a volunteer also helps you expand your network.
CASA of Yavapai County is looking for volunteers to advocate for children who are in foster care. CASAs must be at least 21 years old and willing to devote 10-15 hours a month. Volunteers must also pass a thorough background check and attend training prior to being assigned a case. To learn more call 928-771-3165 or visit www.CASAofYavapaiCounty.org