Would you like to spend your time meeting new people and helping others? A recent New York Times article profiles several people who found a new sense of purpose volunteering in retirement ("Rotary and Peace Corps Find Relevance With Retirees," March 2015). Take Doug Crumley, who joined the Rotary Club, where he quickly made new friends and got involved in rewarding community service projects.
With Americans living longer, healthier lives, Mr. Crumley is certainly no exception. In 2013, nearly a quarter of Americans over the age of 65—or 10.6 million people—did some kind of volunteer work. The Rotary Club and other volunteer organizations are responding to this trend by providing opportunities for retirement aged folks to stay engaged. In the US and Canada, 26% of Rotarians are between the ages of 60 and 69.
An increasing number of retirees are also enlisting in the Peace Corps: Seven percent of volunteers are 50 or older. In 2012 they expanded their program to include a 3-to-12-month commitment, in addition to the traditional 27 months. These shorter deployments better suit senior volunteers.
Travel and living expenses are fully covered and comprehensive medical and dental benefits are provided while one serves. A "readjustment allowance" is also given to volunteers upon their return. Read about some of your fellow members' experiences volunteering in the Peace Corps.
Do you want to give back to your community, but aren't sure where to start? The AARP website offers a free, easy-to-use tool that matches you with the right volunteering opportunities. The Volunteer Wizard works by asking you a series of questions about the kind of volunteer work you are interested in doing and how you would like to contribute to your community. It will then match your preferences with AARP volunteer opportunities. The tool also aims to match your specific skills with a suitable AARP initiative. For example, if you have experience teaching, you may like the idea of being an instructor for AARP Driver Safety, which helps millions of people over age 50 to be safer on the roads.
Are you giving back in retirement? Share with us!