How to Volunteer Safely Post-Pandemic
Now that our local communities are beginning to open back up, opportunities to socialize and help out are starting to flood in! There is no better way to contribute and meet new people than volunteering. In fact, studies have proven seniors who volunteer live longer, healthier, more active lives. The benefits of volunteering go beyond social connection; it actually enriches our lives in more ways than you’d think.
Yes, the benefits of volunteering are plenty, but how do we stay safe connecting with others after a global pandemic? With so many scams and risks of illness, it can be scary. But what might be more alarming is how according to the International Federation of Aging, social isolation is the highest risk to seniors’ lives in Canada. So, we at BCSLA have thought of some great ways you can stay safe while still giving back.
Why Volunteering is Important for Your Health
So as mentioned, the health risks of not volunteering might be greater than volunteering. Studies have shown that socially isolating yourself from your community may:
- Increase your risk for premature death
- Reduce your sense of well-being
- Increase your risk of depression
- Lead to more disability from chronic illnesses
- Increase your risk of dementia
- Decline mental health
- Increase the number of falls and injuries
Keep in mind, although social isolation is dangerous for your health, it is important not to put yourself and those in your household at risk. We recommend you consult your practitioner to gauge the risks if you have a compromised immune system or live with someone who does. Luckily, there are other opportunities to make an impact and feel purposeful without risking your health.
Donate or Run a Fundraiser
A beautiful thing to be grateful for from this pandemic is the creative ways our communities have come up with supporting each other. From virtual Go Fund Me pages to social-distanced events within our residences, there are so many ways to raise money for a cause you care about. Browse CanadaHelps for registered charities that you can count on using your donation for good.
Health Crisis Line
If you feel unsafe meeting new people, try volunteering for emotional support on a health crisis line in your community. In times like these, supporting those suffering from severe mental health issues from financial burdens, abusive households, or social isolation may be the perfect way to make a difference. Contact your local health region to get started.
Do you enjoy gardening, spending time with animals, or golfing? Some local communities seek volunteers to tend to their community garden, harvest decorative flowers for events, walk rescue dogs at a shelter, or help out at fundraising events on a local golf course. Volunteer Connector is a great resource to browse opportunities in your area.
The benefits of volunteering include your health and wellness and the well-being of those in your local and greater community. Your value when volunteering is immense, and without you, our communities are at risk of lacking social unity, racking up high social costs, and losing the wealth of knowledge you bring to other generations.
If these options are not your cup of tea, try browsing our BCSLA member directory to find a residence near you who needs extra support. Our members host top-notch events and excursions that we’re sure they’d love your help on.