A new independent report that provides evidence that consistent volunteering can improve the health and well-being of people age 55 and older was released by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for the nation's volunteer and service efforts.
The research examined how participation in national service contributes to changes in the health and well-being of Senior Corps volunteers in the Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent programs. Senior Companions help home-bound seniors maintain independence and Foster Grandparents mentor young children in need.
"I'm thrilled with the release of this independent study because it confirms what we have long believed to be true: Senior Corps volunteers are not only improving the lives of others, they are also improving their own," said Deborah Cox-Roush, director of Senior Corps. "These volunteers are feeling healthier and less depressed. What's also exciting is they say they feel less socially isolated, which we know has important health benefits. Along the way, Senior Corps volunteers found a sense of accomplishment, opportunities for personal growth, and chances to form meaningful relationships."
According to the research, Senior Corps volunteers report much higher self-rated health scores (84%), which is considered a valid marker of actual health, compared to older adults in similar circumstances who do not volunteer. They also reported feeling significantly less depressed and isolated (78%) compared to non-volunteers. The companion study determined that caregivers found the assistance of Senior Companions beneficial (76%) and for some, the respite provided by a volunteer even improved their health (40%).
It seems like the older generations are already catching onto this trend. According to AudienceScan, 45.4% of Volunteer Opportunity Seekers are over the age of 55. Despite the reputation people of this age range may get, many use the internet to conduct research. Within the last month, for example, 63.3% of this audience used a search engine to conduct research on a service they were considering. In that same amount of time, they also used search engines to look up a business' address (63.2%), hours (59.6%) and phone number (56.5%).
"Our Senior Corps volunteers have a decades-long history of setting examples for all of us to follow by serving our friends and neighbors," said Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers the Senior Corps program. "These 220,000 men and women provide vital support to Americans, both young and young-at-heart, and reap health benefits in return. We are grateful for the generosity of our super seniors and their commitment to making a difference in their communities."
Charities and causes can promote the benefits of seniors donating their time to volunteer efforts in many ways. According to AudienceSCAN, 49.8% of Volunteer Opportunity Seekers get most of their local news from the TV and, last year, 65.7% took action after seeing a TV commercial. In that same amount of time, this audience also took action after receiving email ads (54.2%), hearing ads on both over-the-air and online radio (45.2%) and outdoor ads (36.6%). They're also 18% more likely than other adults to take action after seeing ads on daily deals sites such as Groupon.
AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.