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Helping Is Healthy

April 18, 2019

Helping Is Healthy

Did you know that volunteering can influence your health?

On any given day at White Plains Hospital, you’re likely to see a person reading to a patient or checking to make sure a patient is comfortable. You might see someone escorting a new arrival down the hall to their next appointment. This is hardly unusual—hospitals are busy places, after all. At White Plains Hospital, however, these helpers are often not employees but are volunteers who give their time and help patients for no compensation.

And yet, volunteers may be reaping the most rewards of all. Volunteering can actually improve your health.

Volunteering, particularly among the 60-plus population, provides a host of physical and mental health benefits, including lower rates of depression, fewer physical limitations, and lower levels of stress. Volunteering can also help fill a void. As we age, we experience a host of losses, and helping others restores a sense of community and purpose.

In the Hospital, there are places to go and people to see. Roseanne Braiotta, MS, Director of Ancillary Programs and Volunteer Services at White Plains Hospital, agrees.

“Volunteers often tell me, ‘I get so much more than I give,’” Braiotta said. “Their kindness and compassion make a lasting impression on patients and family members.”

In addition to reaping the physical and mental benefits of volunteering—increased endorphins, also known as the “volunteer high”—many volunteers cultivate a social network, develop friendships, and experience a stronger sense of community that enriches their lives.

Research from the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National & Community Service indicates that volunteering is good for your health. Of Americans who are 60 years and older, those who volunteer report higher levels of well-being relative to non-volunteers.

Volunteering slows the effect of aging on dependency and depression. People 70 years and older who volunteered at least 100 hours in a given year had lower mortality rates in the period covered by the study than those who did not volunteer or who volunteered fewer than 100 hours.

A study to evaluate brain activity and mental agility of eight adults over the age of 60, found that volunteering for more than six months increased brain activity on an MRI.

Do you want to volunteer at White Plains Hospital? Learn more about volunteering at White Plains Hospital or call(914) 681-1225 and join us!