We were very pleased and not so surpised to see that The Sister Bay Advancement Association named Kathy Wagner the 2023 Sister Bay Volunteer of the Year. She has given her time to various organizations and events for over 25 years, and most recently to our organization, serving as secretary on our board (certainly our honor) as well as on the steering committee for SAIL, the village movement happening now in Sister Bay/Liberty Grove.
Why does she do it? We would have to ask her. But the benefits of volunteering, this we know. We wrote a blog about 8 months ago about the positive impact that volunteering has on an older person’s health, although it is true for all ages. Here’s an excerpt to consider:
As we age, it’s important to stay active and engaged in our communities. One way to do this is through volunteering. Volunteering is not only a way to give back to the community but it also offers numerous physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits for older adults.
Volunteering can be an excellent way for older adults to stay active and healthy. Physical activities such as gardening, walking, and cleaning can help keep the body in shape. Volunteering can also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and hypertension. Studies have shown that volunteers have lower levels of stress, lower rates of depression, and improved physical health.
Activities in volunteering can also help keep the brain sharp and prevent cognitive decline. Many volunteer activities require learning new skills and knowledge. This can stimulate the brain and enhance cognitive function. Volunteering can also help prevent cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that older adults who volunteered regularly had a lower risk of developing cognitive problems than those who did not volunteer.
Volunteering can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which is important for older adults who may have retired or lost social connections. Volunteering can also promote social connections and a sense of community. This can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and improve mental health and well-being. Volunteers often report increased levels of happiness and satisfaction with life.
There are many different ways of volunteering that can be considered, including:
- Mentoring or tutoring young people
- Assisting at a local hospital or nursing home
- Participating in a community garden
- Serving at a local food bank
- Helping out at a local library or museum
- Assisting with community events or fundraisers
Volunteering is an excellent way for older adults to stay active, engaged, and connected with their communities. It offers numerous physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits. By volunteering, older adults can give back to their communities and improve their own quality of life.
So cheers to Kathy Wagner! You could be named the Volunteer of the Year someday, and in the meantime, you can just be healthier and happier volunteering in your community today!