By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Ask Dr. Marion

QUESTION: Where do you suggest my 80-year-old father can volunteer his time and experience? In his day, he was a highly respected banker, and he still has a lot to offer. Pete in South Carolina, 49

ANSWER: I'm glad you asked, Pete. Volunteering is a great way to keep your father active, engaged with the surrounding community, and interacting with new people. It'll get him out of the house, give him a goal, provide structure, and create a real sense of accomplishment. It usually doesn't even make a difference what the volunteer function is. Your father could volunteer at a hospital, in a school, at a local "Y," be a big brother, a troop leader of boy scouts, lend a hand at the Red Cross, or just be an assistant to someone who needs help. Given your father's expertise in banking, maybe he can take local school children on bank tours or even mentor young bankers just getting started in the field. When an elderly individual volunteers time, knowledge, and experience, it usually results in more personal satisfaction than if they just gave away their money to a charity.

©2006 Elder Health Resources of America, Inc.