You might think of volunteering as a way to help others. But did you know that volunteering might be good for your own health, too?
The volunteers at Hudson Hospital & Clinic vouch that giving back is a win-win. They regularly tell me they get just as much out of their time volunteering as the patients, guests and colleagues they help.
Many large-scale studies and surveys back up the claim that volunteering improves health. Here are some of the physical and mental health benefits that have been found:
- People who volunteer have lower mortality rates. And they often have more functional ability, too. This means they’re more able to do things such as walking a half-mile a day or getting chores done at home. And they’re more likely to leave the house to go to church or see a movie with friends without needing assistance.
- 68 percent of people who volunteer say that it makes them feel physically healthier. And almost one-third say it helps them manage a chronic health condition.
- Volunteering decreases a person’s risk of depression. That’s because it increases their social interaction and support, reduces stress and causes “The Happiness Effect.”
- Older adults who tutor children or volunteer in other ways can delay or even reverse declining brain function.
At HealthPartners, we know that a person’s health is affected by more than what we can address in a single appointment. In fact, only about 20 percent of a person’s health is influenced by the medical care they receive.
That’s why the HealthPartners mission is to improve health and well-being. In 2014, we started measuring the health and well-being of the people we serve. One key area that we look at is called life satisfaction, or overall well-being. Volunteering can help people develop strong social relationships, a sense of community and a sense of purpose. And these are three of the seven things that help a person strengthen their overall well-being.
What’s stopping you from donating a few hours a week or month?
There are so many ways to make good happen in your broader community. And across our organization, we are always looking for volunteers, too. Check out how you can help patients and their families at a hospital or clinic near you:
- Amery Hospital & Clinic in Amery, Wisconsin
- Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Minnesota
- Hudson Hospital & Clinic in Hudson, Wisconsin
- Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota
- Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota
- Westfields Hospital & Clinic in New Richmond, Wisconsin
- HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities metro area
- Park Nicollet clinics across the Twin Cities metro area