Senior volunteers live longer

To the Editor:

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a national study has shown that volunteers who are 50 and older live longer than same age non-volunteers. In addition, a study of Americans over age 60 found that those who volunteer reported lower disability levels and higher levels of well-being compared to those who do not volunteer

Volunteering may be particularly helpful for older Americans undergoing a life stress (i.e. moving, death of a spouse) or for those who are at risk for being isolated. One study found that bereaved individuals who engaged in volunteering activities to help others experienced a shorter course of depression than those who did not volunteer.

There is evidence that the health benefits of volunteering are due to increased physical, social and mental activity that are a result of volunteering.

Research finds that volunteers not only help their community but also experience better health in their later years, enjoying greater levels of well-being, lower rates of depression, increased levels of strength and energy. It leads us to believe that life really does begin at 50 or 60.

So, if you are in or are approaching your Golden Years, what are you waiting for?  — Jon Knopik, area supervisor for the Central Minnesota Foster Grandparent program, St. Cloud