Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Living Edition
| Editors: Danan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre

Volunteering and Health Outcomes Among Older Adults

  • Ernest GonzalesEmail author
  • Zainab Suntai
  • Jenna Abrams
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_649-1



Formal volunteering is defined as an activity undertaken by an individual that is uncoerced, unpaid (or minimal compensation to offset costs), structured by an organization, and directed toward a community concern (Cnaan, Handy, and Wadsworth 1996), whereas helping others not coordinated by an organization is referred to as informal volunteering.


Volunteering in later life has captured the attention of scholars, social scientists, policymakers, practitioners, and the public due to a growing body of research documenting the health, social, and economic benefits for older adults, families, communities, and society. There are a number of volunteer roles throughout the United States. Older adults volunteer for religious, educational, health-related, or other charitable organizations. In 2012, the Independent Sector (2010) valued volunteer time by adults aged 65+ at $40 billion annually and $62 billion annually...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silver School of Social WorkNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Danan Gu
    • 1
  1. 1.Population Division, Department of Economic and Social AffairsUnited NationsNew YorkUSA