Research: Volunteering Boosts Life Quality in Older Singaporeans

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A new study by NTU Singapore and Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) has found that compared to non-volunteers, older adults who volunteer feel more supported by their social networks, which in turn leads to an improvement in their quality of life. This is even though social networks from which older adults receive actual help do not expand as a result of volunteering.

Through a study of 2,887 Singaporeans aged 60 and above, the NTU Singapore and Duke-NUS researchers also found that those who volunteered regularly with a club or an organisation reported having more control of their lives - also known as personal mastery - leading to a better quality of life.

These findings were derived from data collected in the Transitions in Health, Employment, Social Engagement and Inter-Generational Transfers in Singapore Study (THE SIGNS Study), a nationally representative longitudinal survey of older Singaporeans. THE SIGNS Study is conducted by Duke-NUS' Centre for Ageing Research and Education (CARE).

The findings highlight that volunteering may provide alternative avenues of perceived support for older adults, beyond co-residing family members. This is especially important in Asian populations, where older adults traditionally depend on family members, said the researchers.

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