The Life-Changing Power of Volunteering

Senior Lady and Young Lady volunteering
Senior Man in a Workshop

In 2020, a 10-year study of seniors who volunteered revealed incredible findings: volunteering just two hours a week had significant physical and psychological benefits for those involved. It even reduced the risk of mortality!

90-year-old Desley has experienced the simple power of volunteering, “It makes me feel good, and it helps me feel better.” The resident of The Wexford Seniors Community in Tsawwassen says, “When I’m down, I feel better if I do something for someone else.” Whether she’s handing out the cards at resident bingo or ice cream treats to kids in the neighbourhood, Desley brings happiness to others and receives it in return.

Roger, a Resident Ambassador at Magnolia Gardens Seniors Community in Langley, befriends new residents as they move in and shows them around. “It keeps me out of trouble,” says Roger jokingly. On a more serious note, he adds, “I get to spend a lot of time helping [new residents], and I enjoy it. It’s very hands-on.”

Consider these five powerful perks of giving back:


Tackling a challenge or accomplishing a goal increases your confidence and emotional well-being—a recipe for resilience. Resilience is essential for helping you bounce back from whatever curve balls life throws at you.


Volunteering keeps your mind agile. Whether you pick up a new skill, solve a problem, or navigate a new opportunity, helping out is a mental workout.


The secret to making new friends is to become a volunteer. Many seniors find their social networks shrinking as they age, but community service is a sure way to meet people, share stories, and grow your network of friends.


After a fulfilling day of serving others, you’ll sleep easier. Better sleep is a benefit that comes with the satisfaction of a day well spent helping others.


When you volunteer, you get to be someone’s hero. Passing on your wisdom, skills, and passion can change your life and others. And there is a good chance your work will reproduce, and the legacy of kindness will continue.

“Retirement can open up new opportunities,” says Jennifer Wasden, Lifestyle and Wellness Manager at Sunridge Gardens in Langley. Her team is developing robust service opportunities customized for residents. “Volunteering gives the seniors who live with us a sense of purpose and meaning. Everyone needs that to feel good about themselves!”

Two hours of service a week could be the secret to feeling happy, healthy and content. If you don’t live in a retirement that offers volunteer options in-house, reach out to one of these organizations:

Volunteer In Langley

Volunteer In South Delta

Photo 1: Desley volunteering with the Marketing Team at The Wexford Hotdog Fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Photo 2: Roger in the workshop at Magnolia Gardens

This article original appeared in the Senior Living Expert monthly e-newsletter.