Spring is a time to celebrate volunteerism! While April is National Volunteer Month, WestMass ElderCare sends a huge shout out to all the volunteers who help our staff and consumers all year long. Through their gifts of time, talent, and skill, volunteers contribute so much to our community and to our agency’s mission.
Volunteers come forward because they care about the people around them. As a result of their service, WMEC is able to extend our reach and capacity. After living through a pandemic, we each have a clearer sense of the level of need in our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Below are some ways volunteers help WMEC serve:
- Volunteer Meals on Wheels drivers provide mid-day meals and peace of mind through friendly check-ins to hundreds of older adults in our community. Meal recipients know they will get to see a friend every Monday through Friday.
- Ombudsman volunteers play a critical role in visiting nursing home residents and ensuring that their voices are heard.
- In our Money Management program, volunteers help consumers with bill paying and keeping their finances on budget. Their efforts lead to more people staying safely independent in their homes.
- Volunteers also serve on WMEC’s Board of Directors and Advisory Council, providing expertise and guidance to our organization which brings strength and stability to our efforts and consumers.
Volunteerism isn’t a one-way street. Volunteers receive benefits by sharing their experiences with others. Research reported by the Mayo Clinic provides three tangible health benefits of volunteering:
- Research involving adults 60 and over has found physical and mental health benefits, including lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially for those 65 and older. Volunteering reduces stress and boosts positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine. Volunteers reported having a sense of giving and receiving meaning and appreciation, which can reduce stress.
- Reduced stress contributes to decreasing the risk of many physical and mental health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, depression, and anxiety. In a longitudinal study of aging, people who volunteered have lower mortality rates than those who do not. In addition, volunteers experience greater satisfaction, self-esteem, and purpose when they volunteer in areas they find meaningful.
- As social isolation has been exacerbated over the last two years, volunteering can be a way to make new friends and share common activities and values with others. Learn more about how you can give and receive as a WMEC volunteer today.
We salute our volunteers today and every day! In addition to the gift of your time, we appreciate your gifts of monetary support. Meals on Wheels is a program that is especially vulnerable to the challenges of these times. As we all know, the prices have increased everywhere and that includes the main staples of WMEC’s nutrition program: food, gas, and staffing. Your gift of support will help us continue to provide meals upon request to every person who needs them. Please consider making a gift online which will help older adults remain in their homes and communities at wmeldercare.org/donate-now. We appreciate your support to keep our local program strong and sustainable!