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New York State Office for the Aging highlights older volunteers during National Volunteer Week

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Thu, Apr 12th 2018 12:40 pm
Volunteerism 'critical' to New York state communities
In recognition of National Volunteer Week, which begins April 15, New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen expressed appreciation and admiration for New York state's older volunteers and "the incredible value they bring to our state."
In New York, approximately 700,000 older adults provide more than 119 million hours of service at an economic value of more than $3 billion annually.
"New Yorkers understand that, when one does better, we all do better," Olsen said. "And this legacy is exemplified by the vital services older volunteers provide every day. Older New Yorkers make up the majority of volunteerism in our state - they are the backbone of our communities, and their social, economic, intellectual and civic contributions are essential to making New York state a better place to live, work and grow older."
The state office said older adults are critical to communities, as they work with state and local governments, not-for-profit and community-based organizations, schools and the private sector, among others, to provide services that help improve their neighborhoods. They are youth mentors and club leaders. They help older residents with transportation, home-delivered meals, health insurance counseling and assistance, and quality of care oversight in skilled nursing facilities. Older adults also account for the majority of humanitarian, arts and culture, and faith-based charitable giving in the U.S.
The state office also noted volunteering improves the lives of those who are helped - and it has tremendous benefits for the volunteer, as well. Studies have shown active volunteering promotes healthy aging; it decreases social isolation and the likelihood of depression; increases life expectancy; and lowers the rate of heart disease and other chronic illnesses that can lead to costly and intensive medical services.
The New York State Office for the Aging stated, "We must continue to harness the immense talents of New Yorkers of all ages. Volunteering for just a couple of hours each month makes a difference in people's lives and helps build a stronger New York for us all. There are thousands of local organizations and civic groups looking for volunteers each week. Please visit the Corporation for National and Community Service to search for opportunities in your area."
National Volunteer Week, established in 1974, provides an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time and talents to create change and support their communities. National Volunteer Week kicks off on April 15 with "Good Deeds Day," a worldwide celebration that inspires people to do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively change the world.
The mission of the New York State Office for the Aging is to help older New Yorkers be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them. Visit www.aging.ny.gov for more information.

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