As discussed in my previous blogs, there are so many perks to reaching the wonderful milestone of 60. One of them is I finally have the time and the means to follow through in earnest on one of the most pressing items that has remained flickering on my back burner: volunteering.
I’ve dabbled in the past with various outlets, including the Make A Wish Foundation, manning the gift shop in a local hospital, showing up to assist with serving meals for the homeless, and all are rewarding in their own sweet way.
However, after returning to my home country of England just over three months ago, I have found myself passionate about (to the point of bordering on obsession) finding any way to volunteer with the elderly.
There are lonely people in all age groups, all walks of life, but my heart is captured by the plight of the older generations who become prisoners in their own surroundings. Ill health, families who turn a blind eye to their elderly parents, those who have become widowed, are losing friends to old age and literally don’t have a soul to interact with day to day, week to week, month to month.
It breaks my heart. I am blessed that I now have the time, the good health, the financial freedom, the wherewithal to be of service, and I’ve been busy beavering away to make that happen.
There are so many benefits, where does one begin? On a personal level, I find that my own wellbeing is inevitably enhanced; always grateful for my good health, I feel a sense of “paying it forward “ to those among us who are not so blessed with good physical fortitude.
A sense of purpose is vital to good mental health (increasingly hard to maintain in this tumultuous world we live in), and an overall benefit to the community as a whole should not be underestimated. It sounds like an overused cliche, but the reward is most certainly in the giving: ultimately the true benefits should be for reasons known only to you. We don’t need to put a label on why we volunteer, we just need to do it.
My personal joy is radiating from coming on board with the following organizations:
It takes a little while, some perseverance, and a lot of dedication to get to the point of actually getting out there with some of these organizations, especially with the requirement for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check (which is much needed to protect the vulnerable in our society), but as it happens, I am like a proverbial dog with a bone, so that doesn’t faze me!
So, for those of you who have been following my journey since I arrived back in the UK, I am pleased to report a new development. I have a new friend. He is an amazing artist living here in Cornwall, and in keeping with the theme of my blog, he is also being of service in his 60s.
He selflessly painted over 60 portraits of NHS staff during the Covid lockdown and gifted them to each and every one as a thank you for their dedication to serving others: that tells you something about him. You can check out his prolific artwork on his website!
In the meantime, I highly encourage you to go out and find what resonates with your particular volunteer passion. There are so many fabulous causes, all waiting for somebody like you to come along and reach out with helping hands.
What do you feel passionate about? How do you find ways to be of service in your life? Why should we devote our time to helping others?