3 reasons to volunteer during retirement

Volunteering during your retirement can be a great way to get out and meet new people while supporting the causes you believe in, and using the skills you’ve spent so many years building up. There’s far more to volunteering than sausage sizzles and cake stalls. Volunteering can be the perfect way to put your talents and skills to good use – and learn some new ones along the way.

Plus, there are some more surprising benefits of volunteering which you may not have thought of.

Benefits of volunteering

1. Volunteering makes you feel less time-poor

Studies have found that volunteering time makes people feel less time-poor than wasting time, spending it on themselves, or even having more free time. So if you volunteer your time, you’ll feel like you have more of it!

2. Volunteering is good for your health

Research has also shown that volunteering leads to better health. Volunteers have greater functional ability and lower mortality rates, as well as lower rates of depression later in life than those who don’t volunteer. Volunteering can combat depression by creating a solid support system and providing a sense of purpose. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, older volunteers are the most likely to receive physical and mental health benefits from their volunteer activities!

“US based The National Institute on Aging has reported that participating in social leisure activities and meaningful activities such as volunteering may lower the risk of health problems in seniors, including dementia.” 1

3. Volunteering makes you happier

Researchers at the London School of Economics discovered that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Part of the reason for this is that volunteering serves to build empathy, strengthen your social bonds and make you smile, and these factors also increase the feeling of love.

Volunteer opportunities

Deciding where or how to volunteer is a very personal thing and will come down to your individual interests and skills, but here are a few interesting volunteer opportunities to get you thinking.

1. Australian Business Volunteers (ABV)

If you’re a retired business person, why not combine the opportunity to use your skills and expertise with some interesting travel? Through Australian Business Volunteers you can help businesses in developing countries in the Pacific and south-east Asia. Your food and accommodation along with a small allowance are generally included, so it’s an affordable and interesting way to travel and contribute to communities who need help.

2. Teaching English to adult migrants

If you have teaching skills but are no longer working, or you’re simply interested in helping refugees and migrants to settle in Australia, teaching English can be very fulfilling. You don’t need to be able to speak another language, and support and training are provided.

3. Earthwatch expeditions

If you’re interested in science, the environment and travel, then a volunteer opportunity with Earthwatch may be just the thing for you. It offers the incredible opportunity to work with scientific experts, travel overseas and promote sustainable living.

4. Other volunteer organisations

GoVolunteer will help you match your talents and needs to volunteering tasks in your region. Or if volunteering in rural and remote areas appeals to you, check:

  • Conservation Volunteers Australia
  • Indigenous Community Volunteers
  • Regional Development programs

And don’t forget to investigate options with other respected charities and non-profit organisations, such as:

If you choose to travel during your retirement and volunteering endeavours, Seniors Travel Insurance could cover you for medical expenses, delays, missed flights and more, so you can stick to your plans without the worry of unexpected events holding you back. Make sure you research your options properly, and get advice about the type of travelling you’re doing, as you may not be covered for certain activities, including certain types of volunteering activities.

Here are some frequently asked questions about travel insurance to get you started.