LEWISBURG - The Home Instead Senior Care office serving seniors in the Central Susquehanna River Valley has announced the "Salute to Senior Service" program to honor senior volunteers for the tireless contributions they make to their local communities.
The program will include a search for the most outstanding senior volunteer in each state and culminate with the selection of a national Salute to Senior Service winner during Older Americans Month in May.
Nominees must be 65 years of age or older and volunteer at least 15 hours a month. Nominations will be accepted at www.SalutetoSeniorService.com through March 15. Nomination forms also can be requested at ckoehler@homeinstead inc.com.
State Senior Hero winners will receive plaques, and their stories will be posted on the Saluteto SeniorService.com website. In addition, $5,000 will be donated to the national winner's nonprofit charity of choice.
According to research conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care network, 52 percent of seniors volunteer their time through unpaid community service.
Nearly 20 percent (one in five) of seniors surveyed started volunteering when they reached the traditional age of retirement - 65 or older. Furthermore, 20 percent of seniors who volunteer say that their community service is the most important thing they do.
"Helping others defines life for many local retired seniors," said Joe DeLauter, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in the Central Susquehanna River Valley. "And what a difference we have observed in seniors' health, attitude and outlook among those who choose to stay active as they age."
Dr. Erwin Tan, director of the Senior Corps, a national organization that links more than 400,000 Americans 55 and older to service opportunities, agreed.
"The one thing that I hear constantly from the seniors in our programs is that volunteering gives them a purpose in life - they say that it's the reason they get up in the morning. In addition, it's a great way for them to learn new things - whether a skill or just something about an issue in which they have an interest," Tan said. "Volunteering is just a great way to expand their horizons and feel like they're still a valuable part of their community."
For more information about the Salute to Senior Service program or Home Instead Senior Care, call 522-6533.