Older Adults and Volunteering: Mental Wellness, Motivation, and Satisfaction

Wai Hang Henry Ling, Wan Ping Vincent Lee, Wing Hong Chui, Ka Man Carman Sin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the potential effects of volunteering on older people’s mental wellness, satisfaction, and motivation. To this end, 193 volunteers aged 51 years and above completed the self-administered survey questionnaires. The results show that older volunteers had higher scores on mental wellness, satisfaction, and motivation than that of their younger counterparts. Multivariate analysis shows that the well-being of the older adults derived from volunteering is significantly associated with the perceived effect they can make in rendering services and the extent of their connection with their agency. Factors such as agency support, relationships with other people, and volunteer functioning were not found to be significant. This study reveals that older volunteers value highly the positive effect of their services on other people and on the environment they serve in, which gives them a sense of contributing something of value. Also, as social life and affiliations with others are usually very important to older adults after they retire, their connection with the agency was a significant factor associated with the well-being derived from volunteering, after controlling for other demographic and external factors. It is recommended that practitioners review the service programs open to older volunteers and support them in obtaining a sense of worth through providing services and having an effect on other people and the service setting. Agencies should also enhance their volunteering development programs by building cohesive connections with older volunteers, so that they have a stronger sense of belonging to the service setting. That connection will in turn contribute to the well-being they derive from volunteering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-500
Number of pages19
JournalActivities, Adaptation and Aging
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Mental wellness
  • older volunteers
  • volunteer motivation
  • volunteer satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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