Far from sitting at home twiddling their thumbs, spending all their time on the golf course or lunching with friends, new research from Royal Voluntary Service (U.K.) shows that over two million retirees over the age of 60 spend their time volunteering for at least two charities.
Even though many older people have no formal work commitments, the research shows that millions of older people are ‘Portfolio Volunteers’, juggling many different volunteering roles with a variety of organisations. Men tend to volunteer with organisations such as community football clubs and health charities, while women choose to dedicate their time to children’s charities and lunch clubs.
The research also provides an insight into why older people choose to volunteer. Although 83% of those aged 60 and over volunteer because they believe the work of the charity is very important, 39% follow in the footsteps of a relation and say they volunteer because their family have always done so.
Meanwhile, 46% of older people admit they chose to volunteer because they need to feel they have a purpose. A small number volunteer to get away from their husband, wife or partners, with 3% saying that being ‘fed up with a spouse’ made them get out to do charity work.
The findings also show:
- 15% of older people are keen to keep learning, saying they chose to volunteer to gain new skills
- 79% of older people volunteer because it is a cause close to their heart
Previous research from the organization found that older people who volunteer are less depressed, have a better quality of life and are happier with their lives.