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The Health Benefits of Volunteering Among Older Adults: Implications for Volunteer Management

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Understanding the health benefits of volunteering for older adults can provide multiple opportunities for increasing the impact of nonprofit organizations, and the quality of life generally in our communities. From a volunteer management perspective, this has implications for recruitment, retention, and reporting.

In this Research to Practice, reviewer Laurie Mook looks at an analysis of 73 peer-reviewed articles on the benefits associated with volunteering among the growing demographic of older adults. The goal of the meta-analysis was to acquire a comprehensive view of how formal volunteering might protect against cognitive decline and dementia. Although many activities provide social, physical, and cognitive opportunities for older adults that have been shown to result in health-related benefits, volunteerism has an added dimension: altruism. Here we explore how strategic volunteer management can add to making a difference.