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Volunteers of America


Finishing Well / Part 4:

Aging is a whole new ball game in the new millennium. Whereas once 70 was considered “old”, now it’s often considered “late middle age”. And that means action. Seniors who have retired from a satisfying career often find new life and new purpose serving in a volunteer capacity.

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Consider 78-year-old Rhoda Cordry, who retired from teaching but not from life. When people would ask her what she wanted to do once she retired, she shook her head and replied, “I don’t know!” Then a friend invited her to attend a community meeting about restoring the cold mineral springs in her mountain town, a unique tourist attraction that requires upkeep. It gave her renewed focus. “I learned a whole new set of skills, met wonderful people, and benefited greatly from it. I loved teaching, but I loved this, too,” says Cordry.

Then there’s Arthur Bensen, a 71-year-old who’s spent his entire life in uniform, first as an Eagle Scout, later as a Scout leader, then as a Naval officer. Now retired, he spends his days serving the Navy League, an international civilian organization that educates the public and government about the importance of sea services. Oh, and in his spare time, he sings in two choirs and volunteers for two foundations.

Bob Baker has always understood the value of service. The former CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southern Colorado also chaired the board of his local United Way chapter. At 70, he volunteers in a soup kitchen and sits on two boards that provide essential services to those in need. “I want to make good use of the time I have left,” Baker says. “There’s great fulfillment in all types of community involvement. [I’ve] been fortunate, and giving back is important.”

As a reverse mortgage professional, how can you support the seniors you serve in fulfilling their desire to make a difference in their later years? Take a leaf from loan originator Dick Diamond, based in Port St. Lucie, Florida. While not yet ready to retire, Boomer Diamond has found a beautiful way to wed fitness, fun and volunteering in service to seniors.

Dick explains, “In our community, a group of various providers meets monthly for a free breakfast that’s voluntarily hosted by a different senior living or rehabilitation facility. The main purpose is to network and maintain an awareness of who does what so we can refer as needed. Usually about 90 people attend. The man who was instrumental in forming this group also heads up an Alzheimer’s support group.

“My wife and I love to go ballroom dancing and belong to a national organization called USA Dance. We visit other club locations when we travel and dance at their open dance events when we can. We hold dances twice a month, and most of us find other places to go at least once a week. I bring this up because it is a terrific function for middle- aged couples and singles (Boomers), and provides opportunities to meet others in a safe social environment. It also keeps you in pretty good physical shape, dancing Latin and ballroom for three hours at a stretch.

“One of our outreach functions is arranging basic dance lessons as volunteers at senior living facilities. We did one not long ago and had about a dozen participants who enjoyed learning the cha-cha. They first wanted to watch us (my wife and myself) dance for them, and then we held the class, which lasted another thirty minutes. We all had a blast, and one lady even had a walker to steady her balance. The oldest person there was 97!

“My point is that many of us do have hobbies or skills we can use to help others enjoy their lives, and volunteering makes you feel really good inside. Besides, we may be a recipient ourselves some day.”

Wise words indeed, Dick Diamond.

Will the resources from obtaining a reverse mortgage allow your senior clients to volunteer with those in need, or to participate in a community program dear to their heart? This is an excellent opportunity to engage with your senior prospects and discover just what it means to them to “finish well.”



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