Founded in 1994, the Home Instead Senior Care network is the world's largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors. The network has more than 950 independently-
“Helping others defines life for many local retired seniors,” stated Sharon Massafra, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Trumbull serving seniors and their families in 33 towns throughout northern Fairfield, southern Litchfield and northwest New Haven Counties. “We are likely to see senior volunteers who make a difference in local churches, community organizations, neighborhoods, senior centers and health care organizations. These frequently unsung heroes are making a bigger impact than ever as local budgets evaporate and community needs increase. It’s our observation that active seniors who volunteer are healthy in body, mind and spirit as they age.”
Massafra added, “The new “Salute to Senior Service” award program is also a positive step in helping communities redefine aging. Every day we see seniors who still have so much to give, not only to their communities, but to their families and loved ones.”
According to research conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care network, approximately half of U.S. seniors (52 percent) volunteer their time through unpaid community service. Nearly 20 percent (one in five) of senior volunteers surveyed started volunteering when they reached the traditional age of retirement, 65 or older. Furthermore, 20 percent of seniors who volunteer say that their community service is the most important thing they do. Seniors who volunteer give an average of 15 hours a month in unpaid service.
Seven in 10 seniors (70 percent) who volunteer indicate they plan on volunteering “forever.”
“The one thing that I hear constantly from the seniors is that volunteering gives them a purpose in life. Many say it’s the reason they get up in the morning,” said Dr. Erwin Tan, director of Senior Corps, a national organization that links more than 400,000 Americans 55 and older to service opportunities. “It also provides a venue for developing important social connections, making new friends or volunteering with current friends,” said Tan, who serves as the expert U.S. source for the program. “It’s a great way to also learn new things such as a new skill or something about an issue in which they have an interest. Volunteering is a great way to expand horizons and feel like they’re still a valuable part of their community.”
Senior Corps’ Tan added, “I think we have an opportunity to rethink what it means to be retired, since Americans will live a third of their adult lives after the traditional age of retirement. We need to redefine retirement as an opportunity to give back and make a difference.”
To nominate a senior who is 65 years or older and volunteers at least 15 hours a month and is making a positive impact on their communities through volunteerism, submit their story to www.SalutetoSeniorService.com. A printed nomination form can also be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The completed form can be returned to Home Instead, Inc., Cat Koehler, 13323 California Street, Omaha, NE 68154. Nomination submissions will be accepted up until March 15, 2012.
The Home Instead Senior Care network completed 600 telephone interviews with seniors age 65 and older in the U.S. who currently volunteer their time through unpaid community service. The sampling error is +/-4.0% at a 95% confidence level.