Heard a great story on NPR this morning about older volunteers, including people with Alzheimer's and other dementias, helping kids in an intergenerational school with reading. Heart-warming and worth a listen:
The story notes that "Research has already shown that volunteering conveys benefits for older people who do not have dementia. One study of older individuals who did regular volunteer work in schools through a program called Experience Corps suggested that the volunteers increased their physical strength and were less likely to use a cane or fall down. The study also found that volunteering increased social activity, which may ward off depression and isolation. Volunteers also reported increases in cognitive activity, saying they read more books and watched less television."
I recently did a talk at OASIS on "Positive Aging" and will begin a class in the Fall which I call "Don't Forget": Training Your Brain to Remember. In both, I stress the importance of social engagement (volunteering, social activities) to brain health as we age.
How has social engagement been a part of your personal life legacy? Have volunteer activities been a major focus throughout your life (or grown more important the older you get)?