The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program volunteers make a difference every day, not just at the agencies where they serve but also in their own physical and emotional well-being.

In a recent poll, conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care network, 95 percent of senior volunteers feel that seniors who volunteer are healthier and happier than seniors that do not.

Volunteering through RSVP can also make improvements in the lives of seniors who have chronic health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

A recent survey suggests that at least three-fourths of senior volunteers who have chronic conditions say that staying active through volunteering helps them manage these conditions.

Almost all of them (98 percent) shared that volunteering helps them stay active and they feel better physically.

But the benefits go much deeper. Seniors that volunteer say they overcome feelings of being isolated and depression through volunteering. Giving back to the community also enables seniors to develop and maintain important social connections, learn more skills and pursue new interests.

Almost half of the volunteers surveyed shared that they typically volunteer with someone else, usually a friend or their spouse and many have used their community service to encourage their children to give back their communities.

Some of the other findings from studies regarding the benefits of volunteerism among seniors include:

- A lower risk of depression;

- Fewer physical limitations;

- Less decline in health due to aging;

- Increases in physical activity;

- More engagement in the community;

- An increase in their number of friends;

- Feeling their life is improving; and

- Improvement in memory.

You can find out more about becoming a RSVP volunteer by calling your LifeSpan Center at 639-5150.

We encourage anyone who is 55 years or better to join us by being a member of this organization, which nationally has nearly 500,000 senior volunteers!

General information

The Coles County Council on Aging offices are located at the LifeSpan Center, 11021 East County Road 800 N., Charleston. The telephone number is 639-5150 for the Coles County Council on Aging and LifeSpan Center.

The telephone numbers for the programs are: Coles County RSVP 639-5165; Telecare 639-5166; TRIP 639-5167; Family Care Giver Resource Center 639-5168 and Dial A Ride 639-5169 or 1-800-500-5505.

The Coles County Council on Aging, a local charity since 1974, sponsors the local Coles County RSVP program. The RSVP program receives funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service, Illinois Department on Aging, and the United Way of Coles County. www.colescouncilonaging.org.

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