Peeling Potatoes as Health Promotion? Self-Perceived Benefits of Volunteering among Older Adult Volunteers in a Norwegian Volunteer Centre
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBerg, A. & Johansen, O. (2017). Peeling potatoes as health promotion? Self-perceived benefits of volunteering among older adult volunteers in a Norwegian Volunteer Centre. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 5(4), 171-189. doi: 10.4236/jss.2017.54016
In recent years, voluntary work undertaken by older people has been viewed as a possible way to link aging populations with individual and societal needs related to healthy aging. Based on focus group interviews, the study aims to clarify how volunteering is maintained in older populations and examines how older adults (aged 65+years) in a Norwegian volunteer centre perceived the benefits of volunteering. The results of the study highlight the importance of the volunteer centre as a place in which to participate and be social, for a sense of belonging to a fellowship of co-volunteers, and as an arena for personal growth and adaption to old age. These aspects were described by the volunteers as health promoting. Additionally, the context of the voluntary work, as the volunteer activities and the way they were organized, was significant for their experiences. From these findings, it is a need for in-depth studies of the dynamics of everyday volunteer work in order to gain a better understanding of the relationship between self-rated health benefits and the organizational contexts in which older adults retain to work voluntarily.