Volunteering in later life

Authored by: Jeni Warburton

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415631143
eBook ISBN: 9780203097090
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221033


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Volunteering as a gift of time offers important benefits to societies, local communities and vulnerable individuals. While this clearly adds value to the lives of many recipients, it also adds value to the lives of volunteers themselves. For older people, volunteering is an important dimension of new discourses of ageing, and specifically healthy, active and productive ageing. While it is sometimes viewed as a critical policy lever, to improve social inclusion in the UK, for example, or to build productive ageing in the US, volunteering offers a broad suite of potential activities and interests that can give meaning to the lives of a diverse range of people as they age. It is this capacity of volunteering to offer something for all, and to enable active and healthy involvement, that is the focus of this chapter, and which enables us to explore the broader cultural turn in ageing.

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