The IJOVA Volume XXVIII, Number 1


In This Issue: Age as Opportunity ... link to pdf


The Economic Impact of Extension Educators and SHIIP Volunteers
Carolyn L. Bird, Ph.D.
Program managers are frequently challenged to deliver services to their stakeholders in an environment of static or diminishing resources. This may be particularly true during The Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 (NBER, 2010). This paper focuses on the economic benefit to older adults as North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE) and North Carolina Seniors’ Health Insurance Program (SHIIP) partner to provide a structured framework through which volunteers annually deliver financial savings to older adults enrolling in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. The SHIIP program illustrates how volunteers may be engaged to deliver a complex program to older adults, annually saving sponsoring agencies and program clientele thousand of dollars individually and resulting in multi-million dollar statewide impact. Using data from the NC Cooperative Extension Reporting System the study examines success stories provided in 2009 by Family and Consumer Sciences agents documenting their work in Family Financial Management. Selected reports demonstrate quantitative and qualitative value created through FCS agents’ integration of the Cooperative Extension mission, volunteer resource management, and their SHIIP coordinator roles. A discussion of volunteer selection and education reveals valuable information about preferred volunteer attributes and skills. An examination of partnership benefits highlight organizational partnership synergies, and the quantitative and qualitative impacts of volunteer resource management. ... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteers, personal finance, older adults, Cooperative Extension, Medicare Part D

An Exploration of Learning through Volunteering during Retirement
Suzanne L. Cook, Ph.D.
This study explored learning among older adults engaged in volunteer activities. While the study of learning in older adults has traditionally been neglected, there is an increasing interest in lifelong learning. In light of this, learning opportunities and goals may be important for volunteer engagement and retention. This mixed methods study first asked older volunteers, 55 to 75 years of age, about their learning opportunities. Subsequently, learning goals were examined through a survey involving a Canadian sample of 214 individuals who were also 55 to 75 years of age. Examples of volunteer-related informal learning and formal education were described by participants as well as the importance of learning and being mentally active and engaged. The implications for volunteer resource management are discussed and some suggestions for future research are given. ... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteers, older adults, lifelong learning, retirement, volunteer resource management

The “Why” of Older Volunteers: Do Employment and Loss of Spouse Influence the Motivation of Older Volunteers?
Lonneke Roza, Anke Becker, Eva van Baren, & Dr. Lucas Meijs
Volunteering by the elderly can be seen as productive aging. Older volunteers can offer unique assets to organizations and society through their knowledge and expertise. Volunteer resource managers and volunteer program administrators widely acknowledge this valuable pool of volunteers. Recruiting and retaining these volunteers requires knowledge about their reasons for volunteering. In other words, what motivates older people to volunteer? This European-based study suggests strong similarities in the motivation of older volunteers from Europe and North America and two interesting moderators in the motivation of older volunteers: 1) employment/retirement and 2) loss of spouse. Given the similarities between then motivational patterns, the results have implications for the recruitment and retention of older volunteers on both continents. ... link to pdf
Key Words:motivation, older, volunteers, Volunteer Function Inventory

Big Shoes to Fill: How Will the Next Generation of Canadian Seniors Want to Volunteer?
Paula Speevak Sladowski
While Canadian organizations indicate that their volunteer base is getting younger, they also observe that their leadership and top-volunteers (i.e., those who volunteer more than 171 hours per year) are older. How can organizations prepare themselves to fill these “big shoes”? Canadians over the age of 65 volunteer differently from the generation before them and, based on what we are learning about today’s baby-boomers, organizations are being compelled to fundamentally rethink their volunteer engagement strategies. This is essential in order to involve baby-boomers now and to be prepared as they move into their senior adult years. The evolving landscape in the non-profit and voluntary sector and the shifts in the public policy environment add to the complexity that volunteer-involving organizations are facing. While current senior volunteers are loyal to organizations and causes they believe in, younger age groups tend to be more goal-oriented and have multiple interests. With each generation of senior volunteers, a higher percentage is volunteering but they volunteer fewer hours per year and are often seeking shorter-term volunteer opportunities. How will organizations weather this transition? ... link to pdf
Key Words: senior volunteers, Baby-Boomers, Canadian Voluntary Sector


Bridging the Gap: Enriching the Volunteer Experience to Build a Better Future for Our Communities
Paula Speevak Sladowski
The world of volunteering has changed dramatically over the past decade. Practitioners, policymakers, and social scientists have been monitoring the impact of the recent trends in Canadian society, shifts in social policy, the evolution of Volunteer Resource Management, and the emergence of more integrated corporate community investment strategies. Key drivers, including technology, the economy, and globalization, have had a profound influence on the voluntary sector broadly and on volunteer programs, in particular. The research explored this changing landscape with a focus on youth, families, baby-boomers, and employer-supported volunteers. It identified the gaps between what today’s volunteers are looking for and the opportunities being offered by organizations and offered insights and advice to improve the volunteer experience. ... link to pdf
Key Words: youth, baby-boomers, family volunteering, employer-supported volunteering


Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints: Volunteers, Not Dollars, Predict Engagement with Older Adults
Leo Schlosnagle, Tara E. Karns, & JoNell Strough, Ph.D.
The Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program utilizes volunteers to help modify gardening activities using ergonomic tools and raised flower beds with the goal of increasing the involvement of older adults with joint pain. Health promotion programs, such as the Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program, that facilitate physical activity for older adults with disabilities can be therapeutic, helping to lower the prevalence of risk factors such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, and depression. This article assesses the characteristics of the Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program, including its implementation at 23 different project sites. Volunteers built raised flower beds at each project site and older adult participants with joint pain used the flower beds to participate in gardening activities. Project sites that received a greater number of volunteer hours served a greater number of older adults. Neither the number of volunteer hours committed nor the number of older adults served were related to project sites’ budget requests or project site type (“community” vs. “assisted living”). This suggests that the number of older adults participating in the Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program is primarily related to the number of volunteer hours each project site receives, and that the program may be implemented in a variety of sites. ... link to pdf
(Editor-generated) Key Words: older adults, volunteer, program evaluation


Volunteer Attrition: Lessons Learned from Oregon’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
H. Wayne Nelson, F. Ellen Netting, Kevin Borders, & Ruth Huber
Researchers examined the various factors that contribute to the effectiveness of long term care ombudsman programs and the people that participate in such programs. Specific attention was given to a population of elder-care volunteers in Oregon, and the efforts to train and retain these ombudsman. Implications and long term changes are discussed. ... link to pdf
(Editor-generated) Key Words: ombudsman, long term care, volunteer attrition

The Impact of the Senior Companion Program on Quality of Life Outcomes for Frail Older Adults
Donna J. Rabiner, Ph.D., Scott Scheffler, Elizabeth Koetse, Jennifer Palermo, Elizabeth Ponzi, Sandra Burt, & Lynelle Hampton
The Senior Companion Program (SCP) is a federally supported program to encourage senior citizens to volunteer in their communities with elderly and aging adults, specifically providing home health care to frail older adults. The current article includes results of a study conducted by RTI to determine whether this SCP impacted the lives of older adults in a positive way, and the tangible results of such home health care. ... link to pdf
Key Words: home health care, Senior Companion Program, RTI, later life satisfaction

Serving and Keeping Those Who Serve: Foster Grandparents and Their Own Family Needs
Ellen S. Stevens
This article presents finding from exploratory research with 52 culturally-diverse senior adult volunteers serving as Foster Grandparents in the southwestern United States. The focus is on satisfaction in later life and volunteers’ needs for social support. Practice and evaluation strategies are proposed to determine the linkage between social support, life satisfaction, and improvised volunteer retention. ... link to pdf
Key Words: foster grandparent, later life satisfaction, volunteers

The Leadership Institute for Active Aging: A Volunteer Recruitment and Retention Model
Laura Wilson, Jack Steele, Estina Thompson, & Cathy D’heron
Baby boomers want and expect more from their volunteer experience. They are eternal optimists about the future, exude a “we can do anything” spirit, are individualistic in their personal pursuits, openly question authority and are reformers. Baby boomers are redefining the meaning of retirement and volunteer service. Organizations must now compete with each other to attract and retain a better-educated, diverse and outcome-focused baby boomer generation. Attracting and retaining baby boomers as volunteers will require organizations to redefine and reframe their message. The internal operational paradigm of service must be refocused to include the transference of knowledge from the workplace to meaningful community service, provide a role for decision-making within the organization and generate flexible meaningful roles that facilitate personal growth and service learning. The University of Maryland Center on Aging in collaboration with the Corporation for National and Community Service and AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired People) facilitated the development of several national demonstration models to determine the best practices in recruiting and retaining baby boomers as volunteers, including The Leadership Institute for Active Acting, a service learning model implemented in West Palm Beach, Florida through the area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Inc. The history, conceptual thinking, curriculum and program administration approaches are detailed along with outcome measurements. ... link to pdf
Key Words: Baby Boomers, volunteering in later life, AARP, volunteer recruitment and retention

For complete journal as one pdf document . . . click here