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Older Volunteers: A Precious Resource Under Pressure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2010

Benjamin Gottlieb
University of Guelph


Drawing on the literature on the extensive investment older adults make in volunteering, and on the findings of a study of 19 not-for-profit agencies that rely heavily on older adults to provide a variety of community services, this paper identifies several significant changes in the character of the clients who are served by these volunteers and in government health policies affecting the delivery of community services. The paper concludes with suggestions for research and policy development aimed to optimize the contribution which older volunteers make to society and reciprocally, the contribution that volunteering makes to the health and well-being of older adults.


S'inspirant de la documentation sur l'engagement marqué des aîné(e)s dans le secteur du bénévolat et des résultats d'une étude de 19 organismes sans but lucratif qui ont largement recours aux aîné(e)s pour la prestation de services dans la collectivité, ce document relève des changements importants chez les clients qui sont servis par ces bénévoles et dans les politiques gouvernementales de santé concernant la prestation de services à la collectivité. Le document se termine par des suggestions de recherches et d'élaboration de politiques visant à optimiser la contribution des bénévoles aîné(e)s à la société et du fait même, l'apport du bénévolat à la santé et au bien-être des aîné(e)s.

Issues and Commentaries/Questions à l'étude et commentaires
Copyright © Canadian Association on Gerontology 2002

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*My thanks to the Waterloo Region–Wellington-Dufferin District Health Council, and to the 19 agencies that participated in the study reported here.


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