August 2022: A Message From Our CEO
What’s a basic human need as vital as oxygen or food or water? Connection! Because humans are wired to connect. Technology has given us more opportunities than ever before to connect with people, yet the number of us who feel isolated or lonely continues to grow. Volunteering promotes the meaningful social connection that all of us need to survive.
Loneliness doesn’t discriminate. It can affect people of every age, gender, and ethnicity, but seniors tend to be most vulnerable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are socially isolated, which is a direct pathway to loneliness.
Loneliness has physical consequences that can be devastating, especially for seniors. Studies show loneliness eclipses obesity and even smoking for premature decline and even death. COVID-19 helped shine a light on social isolation for seniors, but the truth is loneliness was a risk factor for older adults long before the pandemic. The reasons can be summed up in one word: loss. As years pass, seniors face loss of life partners and social networks, loss of sight and hearing, loss of employment or travel opportunities, and loss of a sense of purpose.
Experts tell us there are many ways to cope with loneliness, such as expressing gratitude, spending time in nature, and scheduling phone calls with friends and family. It will be no surprise that our favorite way to overcome loneliness is through acts of kindness, also known as volunteering.
For many who are entering a new stage in life, rebuilding social circles and connecting with past hobbies can feel overwhelming. Volunteering can be a lifeline, providing an easy way for people to join a social circle of like-minded people, step out of their comfort zone, and connect to a hobby or purpose they love. Experts agree that people who volunteer are less likely to feel isolated or lonely. Studies show volunteering may reduce stress, enhance cognitive function, increase levels of the “feel good” hormone dopamine, and promote longevity. Surveys show people who volunteer feel valued and have a greater sense of satisfaction with their lives.
Seniors in Service connects people to the volunteer service opportunity of their dreams. As you’ll read in this newsletter there is a volunteer opportunity for everyone, at any age! Our volunteers are serving at food pantries, using their love of painting to restore toys for children, tutoring and mentoring struggling students, writing cards of gratitude to Veterans who served our nation, and making simple phone calls that tell someone they care.
If you or someone you know wants to feel more connected, we can help! Got an hour? Give an hour! We’d love to help you use your skills and passions to make a difference in your life while also improving life for those we serve.
-Robin Ingles, CEO