A recent study claims that benefits of volunteering grow as you age. According to this study, volunteer work can improve mental health, after the age of forty. So far, the consensus has been that volunteering is good for anyone, no matter their age – according to Dr. Faiza Tabassum of The University of Southampton.
However, the most recent study concluded that volunteering has more benefits associated with mental well-being as you age. Governments should keep an eye on these findings to help shape their politics for the elderly populations. If such volunteering improves health, this would lower the burden on the health system.
Researchers used self-reported responses from 5,000 British households. They looked at different years through the process. Participants in the study reported what their mental health was like and what kind of volunteering they did.
Around 20 percent of the people who took part in the study said they had done voluntary, unpaid work. This answer was a lot more common for women aged sixty and over.
The state of mental health was a lot better for those who had done volunteering than for people who never did so. Best results were for those who volunteered as often as they could, no matter their marital status, education or social class.
However, when experts looked at the age factor, there was a surprisingly positive connection between volunteering and emotional wellbeing, which became obvious around the age of forty and beyond.
For middle age and the elderly, volunteering has many beneficial effects, and it can help strengthen social ties and family life. One example cited is how many parents of school children become interested in school activities, as volunteers.
A person who volunteers can have more resources, a bigger network of friends, more perceived power and prestige and this can lead to improved physical and mental health.
A direct link between volunteering and improved mental health could not be established across all age groups, and further research is needed to see whether volunteering really benefits everyone.
What’s your opinion on this article? Have you ever tried to volunteer? Do you have a cause you believe in? Please tell us what you think, by leaving a comment below. Thank you!
Image Source – Wikipedia