A new report suggests Canadian seniors volunteer more time and money than any other demographic.
According to the findings released by Revera, seniors’ volunteer efforts have generated more than $10.9-billion in economic value in Canada.
Charitable giving was also a major factor with more than $4-billion raised for charities and non-profit organizations by people aged 65 and older.
“Seniors make a remarkable contribution to Canada,” said president and CEO Thomas Wellner in a press release. “This report illustrates how they are not only active community members, committed to living a life of purpose, but they also feel a sense of responsibility to create a better world for future generations.”
The survey, which polled more than 1,000 people over the age of 65, found that nine in 10 seniors say they do something to support charities or causes important to them.
82 per cent of respondents said they donate money and more than one-third said they volunteer their time.
Dick Cornish, executive director at Marian Chateau Retirement Living in Regina, says volunteering also helps seniors stay active in the community.
“They are so happy to still be engaged in their community because it’s the community they helped to build,” Cornish said.
Cornish says it also promotes active aging that can enhance the quality of life in one’s later years.
“The older adults that volunteer on a regular basis are just exuding with happiness,” Cornish added. “It’s wonderful to see.”
Stuart MacLachlan has been volunteering for more than 60 years.
A retired RCMP officer based in Saskatchewan, MacLachlan became a member of the Shriners at the age of 21.
“It gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve given back to the community,” MacLachlan said. “In some ways, I’ve helped to make the community better.”
MacLachlan says he plans to continue volunteering for many years to come while working alongside other generations.
“I’ll continue doing it, but I do feel there comes a time in our lives when we must let the young people take over,” MacLachlan said. “I think it should be a requirement that you help your community as much as you can. It’s the way we learn things and it’s a part of life.”