Thousands of Americans retire every day. Most are financially solvent with a lot of free time on their hands. Unfortunately, they also tend to lack a sense of purpose or happiness in their retirement years. So, which is the best way to utilize the new-found freedom? One way to be productive and happy in retirement is by giving back.

According to a study by United HealthCare, giving back to the community reduces stress, improves mood, and physical health. But you need to carefully plan where, and how you will impact the community. Below are a few things to consider when giving back in retirement:

Have a Plan: Charitable giving is great, but it should not adversely affect your cash flow. Develop a philanthropic strategy to fund volunteer efforts and prevent unexpected expenses.

Understand Your Personal Goals and Role: Your values should align with the mission of the charity organization. Find a way to support the community while being mindful of the implications.

Explore Different Options: Being open to suggestions exposes seniors to a wide range of rewarding opportunities. Rather than staying in your comfort zone, use your skills and experience to help in different sectors.

Be Realistic: It’s easy to over-expect results for your energy, time, and monetary contributions. Whether you volunteer to educate the community, become an advocate, or provide direct relief, understand that there are limits to your impact.

For those searching for a way to be involved in the community, here are a few options to enrich the lives of others while finding a purpose in retirement:

Local humane societies and animal shelters often need volunteers. The need help with rescuing pets, coordinating administrative tasks, organizing fundraisers, and taking care of animals – especially during natural disasters.

Joining the local YMCA is arguably one of the best avenues to give back to the community in retirement. The organization offers a variety of ways to positively impact the community.

Therapeutic hotlines offer assistance to various patients in need of help. These services include support for suicidal victims, children in crisis, people with eating disorders, chronic illnesses, or just individuals who need a listening ear.

Volunteering at hospitals provides an opportunity to offer emotional support to patients and improve medical service delivery. For example, you can volunteer to work at hospital gift shops, assist in health drives/campaigns, and visit lonely or troubled patients.

Working at a school is an excellent way to leave an impact in the community and safeguard its future. Most public schools are underfunded and understaffed. You can volunteer as a mentor, crossing guard, or even a tutor in your area of career-expertise.

Looking for an active adult community?  Check out The Tapestry, an age-targeted community in Garner, NC.  Call 919-772-4663 for more information.