Till Death Do Us Part: Study Reveals 7 of 10 Seniors Plan to Volunteer ‘Forever’

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Research reveals that there’s no end in sight for a majority of senior volunteers surveyed, who say they’ll go on “forever.” The Home Instead Senior Care® network has announced the Salute to Senior ServiceSM program to honor these older adults who go the extra mile to make a difference for charities and community service projects throughout North America. The program, which kicks off this month, will include a search for the most outstanding senior volunteer in each state and culminate with the selection of a national Salute to Senior Service winner during Older Americans Month in May.

Senior Volunteer with child

The Salute to Senior Service program includes a search for the most outstanding senior volunteer in each state.

Home Instead, Inc. will make a $5,000 donation to each of the national Salute to Senior Service winners’ designated non-profit charity of choice.

At 92, Ana Ochoa isn’t one to rest on her laurels. Ochoa, a Cuban immigrant, worked her way up through the banking industry. She retired twice, first as an assistant bank manager at age 67 and then as an assistant bank vice president at age 78. It wasn’t long after retiring that she told her son, “Look for something for me, because I can’t look at the ceiling every day.”

Now, in her ninth decade of life, she still is giving back, contributing more than 1,000 volunteer hours a year.

As it turns out, Ochoa’s commitment is not so unusual. Helping others defines life for many retired seniors. According to Home Instead Senior Care® network research, seven of 10 seniors who volunteer say they plan on volunteering “forever.”

Now, the Home Instead Senior Care network is launching a program to honor the volunteer efforts of unsung heroes like Ana Ochoa. The Salute to Senior Service(SM) program kicked off in January 2012 to recognize volunteer efforts of older adults who do so much to make their communities a better place each day.

The program includes a search for the most outstanding senior volunteer in each state and will culminate with the selection of a national Salute to Senior Service winner during Older Americans Month in May. State winners will receive plaques and their story on the SalutetoSeniorService.com site. Home Instead, Inc. will make a $5,000 donation to each of the national Salute to Senior Service winners’ designated non-profit charity of choice.

“Volunteer opportunities for older adults should not diminish because of age and, by all accounts, don’t,” said President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jeff Huber of Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. “Seniors are making important contributions to their communities through charities, nonprofit community organizations, and churches and synagogues. And if they aren’t, many could be. Sometimes all they need is a little help and encouragement.”

For the past 15 years, Ochoa has given her time and talents to the Omaha-area Heartland Family Service, providing administrative support at a senior center and knitting items for fundraisers. She also has worked as a hostess in a cancer center and served as a translator for hospice.

Roles that senior volunteers play in organizations have evolved over the years, according to Dr. Erwin Tan, director of Senior Corps, who serves as the expert U.S. source for the Salute to Senior Service program. “In the past, seniors were just asked to help answer telephones or assist with mailings. And there still exists opportunities for people who want to fill those administrative kind of roles,” he said.

“However, as seniors have evolved over time, so has their desire for new kinds of volunteer activities. We live in a highly technological world so the new ‘senior’ has different interests than those of the past. We encourage people to volunteer for a cause or an activity in which they are interested or for which they feel passionate. As people’s interests or passions change the role that volunteerism fills could also change.”

Volunteering has many benefits that keep seniors motivated to continue serving. According to Home Instead Senior Care network research, 95 percent of senior volunteers feel that seniors who volunteer are healthier and happier than seniors who do not.

Check out more benefits from volunteering as well as information about how to make a deserving senior 65 and older who volunteers at least 15 hours a month a Salute to Senior Service Senior Hero(SM).

About Home Instead Senior Care
Founded in 1994 in Omaha by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world's largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with more than 950 independently owned and operated franchises providing in excess of 45 million hours of care throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Finland, Austria, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ more than 65,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services – assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, incidental transportation and shopping – which enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. At Home Instead Senior Care, it’s relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere.

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Erin Albers
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