Older people are at greater risk of depression, because they’re dealing with health situations and life circumstances that limit their social role. They can get stuck in their homes with little meaningful contact with others. I’d be depressed, too, if I felt like I couldn’t do anything and no one needed me.
Fortunately, volunteering helps. Researchers found that volunteering was good for both seniors’ mental health (decreased depression) and their physical health (physical symptoms proceed more slowly). They conclude: “The salubrious effects of volunteering underscore the benefits of continued social engagement in later life for both physical and mental health.”
That’s boring medical talk for, “Volunteering gets you out of the house and talking to people. Getting out of the house and talking to people is good for your social life. Feeling good about your social life improves your mood. Oh, and because the human body is amazing, when you feel good emotionally, your body feels better too.”
Give, because you’re depressed, and when you’ve got a reason to get out of bed in the morning, the world gets a lot less depressing.