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The Impact of Senior Volunteers

Senior Corps week is this week (May 6 – 11), and celebrates the extraordinary contributions of seniors in communities across the country. Just in time for the week, new data from the Corporation for National and Community Service shows that across the country, senior volunteering is at a 10-year high. One in three volunteers is a senior (age 55 and older), and in the past 10 years, more than 20 million senior volunteers gave nearly 3 billion hours of service, at a value of $67 billion.

The week will be marked by service projects and recognition events across the country. More than 30 governors have issued proclamations for Senior Corps Week, representing broad support for the vital contributions Senior Corps makes to our communities and nation. This week also takes place during Older Americans month.

Overall, volunteering has positive effects on participants by keeping them active, healthy and engaged. Senior volunteers in particular can benefit – past research has shown that they tend to report increased strength and energy levels, lower rates of depression and fewer physical limitations. With nearly one in every five Americans projected to be age 60 or older by 2030, a great opportunity exists to engage older Americans to meet critical community needs through volunteering.

The Senior Corps was an idea originally conceived in the 1960s. Its goal today is to connect those 55 and older with the people and organizations that need them most. They can become mentors, coaches, companions or use their job skills and expertise to community projects. There are three grant-funded programs run by the Senior Corps, including Foster Grandparents, RSVP and Senior Companions.