Kelley D. Hamilton of Bonaventure Senior Living Explains Why Philanthropy Is Good for the Soul

Kelley D. Hamilton Bonaventure

Kelley D. Hamilton and Bonaventure Senior Living believe that the best way to gain is to give. That’s why they actively encourage their able seniors to give their time and share their wisdom with those who have not been fortunate enough to learn life’s lessons just yet. According to Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living CEO, seniors who donate their time enjoy a plethora of benefits. Here, Oceans2003 shares a conversation with Kelley D. Hamilton of Bonaventure about volunteer opportunities and benefits for seniors.

Oceans2003: Good morning and thank you for taking time to speak with us today.

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: I’ve been looking forward to it.

Oceans2003: The topic today is seniors and volunteer activities. Are there volunteer opportunities for the over-50 crowd?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living:  Oh yes. In fact, many organizations, including the Peace Corps, are actively seeking older volunteers.

Oceans2003: Why’s that?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: For their experience and ability to mentor younger volunteers who may be intimidated by certain situations.

Oceans2003: Must these seniors travel for volunteer opportunities?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Not necessarily. There are always ways to help. But, specifically with the Peace Corps, traveling is one of the major benefits.  Of course, for seniors who want to stick closer to home, there are plenty of opportunities throughout their local community.

Oceans2003: Should seniors take the time to volunteer?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Absolutely, and there have been many studies that suggest numerous benefits to doing so.

Oceans2003: Can you explain further?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Seniors who give their time are typically more social and have a lower risk of depression. Being around others also helps with memory retention and can improve self-esteem.

Oceans2003: Very interesting.

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Those who volunteer regularly tend to be more involved all-around in their community and have a larger social network to reach out to in times of need.

Oceans2003: Are there any physical or health benefits?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: There can be, yes. Many seniors who stay active find they have fewer physical limitations and less decline in health from aging than their lesser involved contemporaries.

Oceans2003: All of this just from giving a little time?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: They can give a lot or they can give a little as long as they remain engaged.  The important part is simply being actively involved – which is shown to improve both the body and mind.

Oceans2003: Where can seniors look for volunteer opportunities?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: One of the most common places would be their church, if they attend.

Oceans2003: And for those who don’t?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: There are possibilities around every corner. Most cities have a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Those who are passionate about animals can check their local animal shelter.

Oceans2003: What can you do for the animal shelters?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Most are always looking for someone who can come in and help feed or exercise the animals. Interactions with pets also have their own positive benefits.  Seniors who have physical limitations can still spend time socializing puppies.

Oceans2003: That alone would help with depression, right?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: There’s some validity to that, as studies have shown that regular interaction with a domestic animal can help improve mood and even regulate blood pressure.

Oceans2003: What about hospitals?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Senior citizens are almost always welcome at their local hospital. If you’ve ever seen a gift shop cart being pushed to the hospital corridors, it was probably a senior volunteer.

Oceans2003: Do hospital volunteers interact with patients?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: In many positions, yes. One of the most popular with seniors—especially women—is reading stories to sick children.

Oceans2003: It sounds like volunteering is just an overall good activity for seniors who have the ability.

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: As they say, it is better to give than to receive.

Oceans2003: And this is one area where by giving of your time, you’re also receiving some incredible health benefits, right?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: That’s absolutely true, and I’m so glad to be a part of an organization that encourages our seniors to participate in charitable, community-based activities.  Especially as we near the holiday season, our “Bonaventure & You” program allows our residents to give back to local non-profits as we donate $1,000 to the charity of every new resident’s choice, along with other gifts to charitable organizations near our senior living communities.

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