Volunteering Helps Seniors Thrive

Categories: General, Independent Living, Assisted Living

To make Fellowship Square Historic Mesa the best senior living community it can be, we’d like to provide our residents, and anyone interested in senior living, information about improving life for themselves or their families. Volunteering is one of the many ways our senior living community plans to make 2024 the best year yet!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which began as a way to honor Dr. King’s birthday, has become a day designated by Congress as a national day of service — a “day on, not a day off,” according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. In the words of Coretta Scott King: “The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.”

Research shows that the benefits of kindness, giving back, and volunteering, will positively influence the “giver” as well. In fact, an article on the AARP website lists multiple benefits of giving back including:

  • strengthening communities
  • meeting others
  • sharing a skill or improving upon one
  • even improving health

A white paper titled, “The Science of Generosity,” prepared for the John Templeton 5 Foundation by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, explores this topic. In the paper, it is reported that “even small acts of kindness, like picking up something someone else has dropped, make people feel happy.” Furthermore, the paper states “Giving social support — time, effort, or goods — is associated with better overall health in older adults, and volunteering is associated with delayed mortality.”

An article on the Cleveland Clinic health essentials website further supports the fact that giving back is good for one’s health. In an article titled “Why Giving is Good for Your Health,” psychologist Susan Alberts, PsyD, says, “When we do good things for other people, it makes us feel much more engaged and joyful. That’s good for our health and our happiness.”

Doing a good deed for someone or giving them a gift allows the brain to release “feel good” chemicals such as:

  • serotonin, which regulates mood
  • dopamine, which provides a sense of enjoyment
  • oxytocin, which creates a sense of connection with others

Dr. Alberts states that giving to others, by way of a good deed or a gift, can:

  • lower blood pressure 
  • protect the heart
  • may even prolong one’s lifespan

Furthermore, “Gift-giving or volunteering can reduce your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can make you feel overwhelmed or anxious.” So, consider a good deed the ticket to relieving stress!

Dr. Alberts also states: “Some of the best gifts don’t cost anything. In fact, acts of service often reflect the most thought and care and can be more meaningful than anything you purchase.”

Need some inspiration for being of service in honor of MLK Day or any day of the year? Here are some ideas for volunteering, giving back and performing random acts of kindness:

  • Help a loved one or neighbor with household chores or errands.
  • Offer to accompany a friend to a doctor’s appointment or ask a neighbor to join you for dinner.
  • Volunteer your time at a local non-profit (such as our community) that supports a cause you’re passionate about.
  • Join a community service project, such as helping to plant trees at a local park.
  • Send a special card or little text to a family member who lives far away.
  • Make a homemade gift for someone special using your own skills or talents.
  • Donate much-needed supplies to a local shelter for those experiencing homelessness.

At Fellowship Square Historic Mesa, we are committed to helping our residents thrive and live with purpose. A big part of our Mission, Values, and Vision are the many volunteer opportunities that exist in our Arizona senior living community. 

To read about other ways to take action on MLK Day, visit www.americorps.gov/serve/volunteer/mlk-day.

Stay informed on how we're handling COVID-19.