Active retirement: Volunteering broadens horizons
This story is part of an ongoing educational series presented by the Good Samaritan Society focusing on the variety of ways seniors maintain active lifestyles.
When you think about an active retirement, what do you picture?
Does it involve a new career?
Maybe it means spending time with family and friends.
For Dorothy Wagner, it means nurturing her mind, body and soul through volunteerism.
I think my retirement is a gift, it really is. I have the ability to go out and to participate in different areas where volunteers are needed. I like being active.” – Dorothy Wagner, resident of Good Samaritan Society – Friendship Terrace Apartments
She volunteers several hours a week, and at 79, the Good Samaritan Society – Friendship Terrace Apartments tenant feels that it keeps her healthy.
Through volunteering, Dorothy has met new people and become more interested in her adopted Iowa community. She says her life would be closed and narrow if she weren't so involved.
It’s not just her physical health that benefits. She keeps her mind active by attending conferences, such as Aging Faithfully in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, each July.
Last year, the conference speaker told the audience that they should be passionate about something that gets them up and out every day. The message resonated with Dorothy, who lives by that philosophy.
“What I like about the conference is it made me feel comfortable with my age,” she says. “There’s always something good about aging.”
“Volunteering keeps me thinking. It just is good for me to be a volunteer.” – Dorothy Wagner
Dorothy’s advice for retirees who want to volunteer is to check with their local Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The program matches adults 55 and older with volunteer opportunities.
Dorothy volunteers for several organizations (remember, she's 79):
- Serves at Lakes Regional Hospital in Spirit Lake, Iowa
- Serves as president of the area retired teachers group
- Serves at Upper Des Moines Opportunities for both Emmet and Dickinson counties
- Visits homebound parishioners with other women from her church
- Helps teach a Bible study
“What volunteering has done is helped me become acquainted with the area and with the people,” Dorothy says. “I love to be social, so for me it was important to find some different areas in which to volunteer.”