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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Senior Volunteering

In Europe, the majority of senior citizens enjoy far better living conditions than in the past, however there is still a certain degree of risk of permanent social exclusion due to ageing. The Charta of Rights of the European Union recognises these changes, stating that “the European Union acknowledges and respect the right of seniors to have an independent and respectable life and to take part to social and cultural life” (art. 25). Strategies have to be developed that allow seniors to take part in social life after their retirement from the labour market.

Volunteering is one of the most appreciated and experienced activity that the seniors choose to feel part of the community and stay active. Seniors have always been the backbone of traditional civic participation, running churches, voluntary organisations, charitable fund-raising activities etc. Older persons have a capacity and an appetite for being active which tends to be insufficiently recognised. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities is important for the development and preservation of capacities in later life. Such possibilities need to be greatly expanded. Involving a larger number of seniors in voluntary work might turn out to be a major tool in active ageing strategies.

Volunteers should receive appropriate training and management. During volunteering service, the volunteer benefits from a personal, social and intercultural learning process.