Never Fear - Just Volunteer

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    Welcome to installment #22 of the A to Z for a Rocking Retirement. V = VOLUNTEERING What will you do with all your free time after you retire?  If you are restless like me and want to give back, then I have the perfect solution.  VOLUNTEER!

    Never Fear - Just Volunteer

    Of course, it will take some thought on your part to decide what will be the best fit for you.
    Seems like all the volunteers I see hanging around the hospital are retired employees and they are old and grey. And now I find myself in that category as well! But I don’t feel like that stereotypical volunteer. I have lots of energy and would not be satisfied escorting patients, pushing wheelchairs, dropping of flowers. So I never gave it any thought to consider volunteering. Until Ace came along.

    volunteer-therapy-dog-


    Ace is a 10 year old handsome large golden doodle dog whom I rescued from a family who could no longer keep him as they were moving to an apartment. He is a country dog who loves to roam free and since I live in the country our home was perfect for him. After a few months living with and loving him, I realized he was just too nice, too smart, too gregarious to waste all his time laying around. So I decided to put him to work.

    He is now a fully trained and certified Therapy Dog and getting ready to make his first visit to the local Cancer Clinic where patients getting treatments are surely in need of the loving kindness and compassion of this very special dog. And for me, I found the niche I needed as a volunteer, and yes it will be at the hospital where I worked for 20 years.

    So my message for you is this. Yes, you might be burned out working in healthcare and can’t see yourself returning anytime soon after you retire, but there is always a way to determine what it is you want to do with the rest of your life when it comes to giving back.

    And if you are a nurse you have that “giving” trait or you wouldn’t have gone into nursing, right? And we do know that healthcare would be nowhere without all the volunteers who do all those important little things that need attention to keep patient care at the high standard we expect. So what ideas do you have for how you will give back in the future? Here are a few questions to consider for yourself.

    What talent do you have that you are willing to share?

    I love to teach about wellness so I am volunteering my time at a Senior Community Center providing monthly wellness education classes. Talk about an interested, attentive and appreciative audience. It does my heart good every time I go there. And it also leads to some health consultations I can provide as well.

    What need do you see that calls to your soul?

    There are endless organizations looking for help. All you need to do is find the one that speaks to you. Of course be careful not to over-extend yourself and get overly busy again. We do have to keep that “helping” trait in check so we don’t get exhausted again.

    What talent have you always wanted to cultivate?

    One of my retired nurse friends loves being outside, loves building things, loves to travel. She put that all together and is leading groups to other countries building houses for Habitat for Humanity. She has never been happier.

    Here is a pretty exhaustive list that might give you insights into what could work for you.

    So this volunteering thing started for me with a dog named Ace who needed a loving home, and now I have new dog training skills, a new way to help patients heal, and the joy of knowing I can continue making a difference in the lives of others. And it is fun too!

    What thoughts do you have when it comes to volunteering in retirement?
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    3 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    I am not at all religious, but was finding it hard to maintain a very active social life. I went to a friend's church, signed the "can you volunteer" postcard, and now help out in their office 4 to 6 hours a week.

    It is ideal for me because it is not structured. I set my own hours, can come and go as I please. They do prefer at least 2 - 4 hours a week. I'm enjoying it and meeting nice friendly people.

    I do go to church service on Sunday....maybe someday it will take".
  4. by   JoannieO
    After 45+ years as a RN in a variety of medical and teaching facilities, I'm just caring + doing "wellness"--I call it-- for my husband and me right now, as it has been almost 1 year since I retired. I may consider volunteering in the future, perhaps something in teaching and the wellness areas. Thanks for the excellent opportunity-ideas that have been offered here. Who knows what lies ahead in my new life?
  5. by   retiredmednurse
    I have been volunteering at the hospice unit of our local hospital for a year now since I retired. I volunteer 4 hours a week answering calls and doing simple office work. I work with Rn's who use to work on my med floor at one time. I can add extra hours if I wish, and can take off time whenever I want. As long as my clothes are clean, I can wear sweatshirts in the winter and flip-flops and shorts in the summer. Because I use to work on a medical floor, whenever a call comes in from a patient or family member, I know the questions to ask so I can give a more complete message to nurse who would be taking the call. I have received compliments on these messages. I am using my nursing skills, but want a break from direct pt.-care. And occasionally I serve as a parish nurse (also known as a faith community nurse), but can do more later as I feel like adding to it.

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