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Thank you to our guest blogger for January, a Seniorly Contributor!
The benefits of giving are numerous. It has been scientifically proven to decrease depression, improve longevity, and foster social connections that can lead to better quality of life. No matter how little you have to give, even a few dollars can make a huge difference in the lives of people in need.
Discover the top ways that volunteering can benefit you and others:
One of the major ways that giving impacts your mood is by fostering gratitude in your life. In fact, “Barbara Fredrickson, a pioneering happiness researcher, suggests that cultivating gratitude in everyday life is one of the keys to increasing personal happiness.” In her book Positivity, she writes that “When you express your gratitude in words or actions, you not only boost your own positivity but [other people’s] as well.” So it’s really no wonder that you feel better and more motivated after volunteering. The energy you put out into the world is reciprocated, leaving you feeling refreshed and grateful for all of the wonderful things you have.
Giving has also been proven to increase your overall quality of life. According to good sources, “A wide range of research has linked different forms of generosity to better health, even among the sick and elderly.” This season, consider making volunteering a family event, and get grandparents and grandchildren involved in activities that make a difference. Volunteering may help aging relatives remain healthier for longer. “A 1999 study led by Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkeley, found that elderly people who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than were non-volunteers.” If longevity isn’t a great reason to volunteer this season, I don’t know what is! Get out there and give back to the community in some tangible way.
Last but not least, giving has been proven to foster social connections that are beneficial to all parties involved. Whether you are serving food at a local soup kitchen or cleaning up a park with fellow volunteers, “These exchanges promote a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others—and research has shown that having positive social interactions is central to good mental and physical health.” Elderly isolation can be a major concern, and volunteering can relieve this by sparking friendships that help elders feel more socially connected.
What’s more, giving can improve our opinions of others and coincidentally make us feel better about ourselves. “When we give to others, we don’t only make them feel closer to us; we also feel closer to them.” Writer Sonja Lyubomirsky writes in her book The How of Happiness, “Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably.” This creates a positive feedback loop, in which the volunteering community supports one another and perceives everyone in their best light.
So take some time to give back to your community. Chances are, it will not only spread love to those in need, but also improve your overall quality of life and lead to better health down the road.
Seniorly.com is a free service for families seeking elder care communities for their loved ones in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and beyond.
We all need community. Seniorly can help you find yours!
Well, apparently Grandmothers should not talk about sex or so I’ve recently been told. It seems that in my last blog post (ways to exercise that did not include going to the gym), I may have crossed the line for some by mentioning the word sex as a form of exercise.
For those of you that did not see it, there was nothing pornographic about it. My comment simply read, "Sex! Well, I don’t think I need to explain or go into detail here, but if you have a partner, this can certainly be great exercise and good for your relationship too ;)”
Most of my baby boomer posts have been about inexpensive ways to look and feel our best while aging gracefully, and the feedback has been positive. However, this time I was very surprised to get private messages telling me that they were shocked or surprised that I would suggest having sex as a form of exercise! (One actually said, "You are a Grandmother after all!") Well, my Grand Daughter is 3 and doesn't read this blog, but that is really beside the point!
Really?!? So Grandparents shouldn't have sex? Or should they just pretend that they don't? Is it an age thing? Or is it a perception thing?
Now, maybe being married to an Ob-Gyn and being very comfortable talking about things openly has clouded my view. Perhaps there is an age in which the idea is taboo? Is there a cutoff I didn't know about? Say 50? Maybe it's 40? What about parents? Is it ok for them to have sex? Or is it just not ok to mention it in any way?
(By the way, I wasn't asking anyone to "envision" this, I simply suggested that sex can be a good form of exercise and I still believe it can be. But I do apologize if I offended anyone, that was never my intention.)
I have been married to the same man for 34 years and I stand by my position that it is both good exercise, and makes for a very healthy relationship. Now, I understand that as we age things change. Perhaps it's the loss of a partner which changes things. That is a different situation and someone may choose not to pursue that avenue with someone else later in life. However, it is important to point out that if there are health issues keeping you from fully enjoying your sex life, you should talk to a doctor. Many of these things can be addressed and age does not have to be the end of a healthy and satisfying sex life.
Since I decided to go down this road again and address it, because frankly it was bothering me that I got such negative responses, I would like to mention a great website and a great blog for anyone interested. There are lots of great suggestions and information for those baby boomers that are still sexually active, or want to be!
The first website is www.grandparents.com. The family and relationships section has great information and the website is a great resource for grandparents in general.
Next is a blog (http://betterthanieverexpected.blogspot.com/) that has been done beautifully by Joan Price, an author who has written many books on the subject of sex and aging.
And here is a great article that talks about the health benefits of sex far better than I could ever pretend to: http://articles.philly.com/2013-10-21/news/43222496_1_health-conference-maroon-5-betsy-crane
Again, if I offended anyone by suggesting that baby boomers and yes, even Grandparents should be enjoying a healthy sex life, then I’m sorry!
In all honesty, however, I’m not the least bit worried about people loving other people; I’m far more concerned about all the hate in the world today.