FAR from marking the end of a busy life, retirement can be a launch pad for new opportunities and truly enriching challenges – including volunteering.
This October, as we continue to celebrate Positive Ageing Month, Martin Cassidy of Omagh is encouraging retired adults across the town and beyond to consider getting in touch with the ‘Omagh Volunteer Centre’ for an informal, yet informative, chat about becoming a volunteer – including how doing so can transform the lives of local people for the better, while bringing joy into your world.
Speaking to the Ulster Herald, Martin, who has volunteered with Omagh Futsal Club for four years and the Mountfield Community Association for three years, said that retirees make amazing volunteers.
“In an ageing population, it is important we continue to work together to encourage older people to reach out and connect with their local community, not only to reduce social isolation and loneliness but to support them to live, long healthy lives,” he said. “You’ve got time, experience and a wealth of wisdom, so giving your services for free can seem like a great next step – especially for a cause you are passionate about.
“There are lots of charities and community groups that want to snap you up as soon as you wave goodbye to the workplace.”
And it is a two-way relationship: Benefits for the volunteer include enhanced mental and physical health prospects; better social interaction; and a deep feeling of purpose, as you bring new meaning to your life.
“By interacting with younger generations, seniors are able to share important life lessons,” Martin explained. “On the flip side, younger generations are able to teach seniors new ways of looking at life.
“By building a connection with each other, both generations are able to offer the respect and affirmation that humans crave.
“Volunteering keeps the brain active,” he added. “This contributes to a person’s cognitive health. The National Institute on Ageing reported that by participating in activities that are meaningful and productive may lower the risk of dementia and other health problems in seniors.
“Physical activity retains an important role in positive health outcomes through the oldest ages,” he continued. “Whether that activity is helping with a local sports team, or walking around your neighbourhood while volunteering as a companion, maintaining a healthy level of fitness helps to fend off diseases as you age.
“And it’s never too late to get started: Whether you are just retired or are in your later years, there is an opportunity out there for you.”
How do I sign up?
Simply visit Omagh Volunteer Centre office for a chat. They are open on weekdays from 10am to 4pm.
Alternatively, you can visit website: ‘www.omaghvolunteercentre.org’; call on ‘028 8224 0772’; or email ‘email@example.com’.