Sharing Your Gifts with the Community
Sharing your unique gifts benefits everyone, including you!
From trays of cookies to office potlucks to surprise presents under the tree, the holidays are all about sharing gifts.
Giving and receiving gifts builds social connections and creates strong communities. But, it’s not just about the gifts you can wrap. Sharing your unique gifts – through volunteering, donating, or giving the gift of time – benefits everyone, including you!
Giving is a key to health and happiness, with physical, mental, and emotional benefits that are especially helpful for seniors.
Seniors benefit when seniors share. Learn more about the health benefits of sharing, creative ways to share your gifts with your community, and see the special ways our community fosters sharing.
The Benefits of Sharing
Whether you’re volunteering for an organization in your community, donating resources, or offering your time to a friend, sharing your gifts with others has abundant physical and mental health benefits. The benefits extend to the giver, the receiver, and the community at large.
1. Increased happiness.
Research has shown again and again that people who give are happier. In a 2006 study from the National Institutes of Health, acts of charitable giving activated regions in the brain associated with pleasure, reward, social connection, and trust.
2. Longer, happier life.
Seniors who share with the community by volunteering have longer, happier lives. A 1999 study at the University of California, Berkeley showed that seniors who volunteer live longer lives, even when controlling for factors like exercise and overall health. Another study at the University of Michigan in 2003 showed similar results for seniors who provided help and emotional support to friends, neighbors, or spouses.
3. “Helper’s high.”
Whether you’re volunteering for a good cause or providing a listening ear for a friend, acts of giving cause your brain to produce endorphins. The happy and energetic state due to endorphin release can last for hours, and also leads to reduced stress and lower blood pressure. That helps everyone, especially seniors with cardiovascular concerns.
4. Increased social connections.
We are wired for connection! Giving to others releases oxytocin, a chemical responsible for bonding with others. You’ll experience a deeper sense of connection to those to whom you give. Feelings of belonging and connection are especially important for seniors as they adapt to changing family and community roles.
5. Meaning and purpose.
As roles change over time, many seniors find themselves seeking a new sense of purpose. Offering gifts of time and resources to others on a regular basis brings life a sense of meaning.
6. Doing good is contagious!
A research study from the University of California, San Diego showed that when one person acts generously, it inspires others to act generously as well. That ripple effect extends out about three degrees. One generous act can inspire hundreds more!
How to Share Your Gifts with the Community
Sharing your gifts with the community means something different for everyone. What can you give freely to those around you?
That might be your time, your attention, or your resources. The community might be the people in your social group or workplace, a community with a common interest (like a religious organization or people working toward a common goal), or the community in your town.
Here are some ways that you can share your gifts:
- Volunteer for an organization working toward a meaningful goal.
- Donate money or resources to charities.
- Offer to help a friend with a task.
- Call someone who is going through a difficult time. Let them know you care.
- Offer to teach someone a new skill.
- Give what is uniquely you! Whether you have a gift for being a good listener, making people laugh, or planning events, sharing your gifts will make someone’s day.
The Gift of Sharing at Sunnyside Manor
Here at Sunnyside Manor, we are grateful that our community of giving includes so many generous people! These are just a few ways that residents, staff, and volunteers share their gifts with our community.
Our resident-run activities supplement our amazing calendar of regular programming.
- Residents like Bridget, who organizes the resident Rosary group; Betty, who rallies everyone for fun outings; and Murray, who organizes a men’s group, help other residents connect.
- If sharing had a sound, it would be the sound of Frank playing the piano. When Frank sits down at the keys, an impromptu sing-along isn’t far behind!
Both on our campus and off, Sunnyside Manor staff care about community.
- Each year, many of our staff give their time to help with fundraising for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
- When it comes staff giving what is uniquely them, Judy Maher is on the top of the list. You might find her serving in the dining room, at the concierge desk, or stocking special goodies in the resident store. Each day, she brings a keen understanding of what makes people feel valued and happy.
We are always grateful to volunteers who visit Sunnyside Manor.
- On Veteran’s Day, the Purple Heart Foundation warmed the spirits of resident veterans with cozy blankets.
- Denis Roman Catholic Church of Manasquan offers Catholic Mass and Communion services.
- Steel Drum Jeff donated his talents during our staff appreciation celebration.
- Volunteers are in furry form, too! Duke the great Dane offers big dog cuddles (led by his person, Donnie Salvamini).
At this time of year especially, we thank all of our volunteers and our residents, families, and staff who share their gifts with our community every day.
Interested in sharing your gifts at Sunnyside Manor, or getting an inside look at what makes our community special? Contact us.
All of us at Sunnyside Manor wish you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.
Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor
When you have questions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.
Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier family-owned senior living community. The community features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.