Health benefits can be found in volunteerism
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:00 AM
The findings of a Purdue University study about the health benefits of volunteer work by seniors is no surprise.
Researchers say people age 70 and older who volunteer have less age-related disease than younger people who don't volunteer.
Researchers studied C-reactive protein levels that are markers of inflammation. The levels spike when a person has an infection or the flu, or as a person ages. High levels also can signal cardiovascular and chronic disease.
Their study found even those who volunteer a few times a year have lower CRP levels than those who don't.
The research focused on data from adults ages 70 to 85. It adjusted for factors such as the participants' health. The next phase of the study will involve examining whether there are cultural or regional differences and to see if volunteers have specific healthy habits that non-volunteers lack.
Our area is known for its commitment to volunteer work. From delivering mail at the hospital to serving as a reading tutor at the library to offering tours of Madison's historic sites, volunteers - many of them seniors - are valuable resources.
Senior volunteers bring years of real-life experiences to their volunteer efforts. Many of them feel an obligation to give back to their community.
It's a win-win situation. Senior volunteers are serving their communities while enhancing their own lives.
As we head into the holiday season, there are many volunteer opportunities. Now is the time to make that commitment to get healthy and serve the community.