Center on Aging receives $147K award to continue research on older adult volunteer participation

The University of Maine Center on Aging has received a $147,000 award from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to build on previous research on volunteer participation among older adults.

Older adults today are balancing multiple roles including working, caregiving, and helping in their community. The volunteer sector is looking for ways to engage increasingly busy older adults in formal volunteer service, according to principal investigator Jennifer Crittenden, associate director of the Center on Aging.

Research during the past two years, also funded by CNCS, found that older workers and caregivers are more likely to experience role-related strain when engaged in volunteer work along with other obligations.

The third year of the project will expand on and further explore these findings, and focus on distributing the findings to those who could benefit from the knowledge — volunteer managers, older adult volunteers, the aging network and other researchers.

The initiative also will include research to create profiles of volunteer programs with innovative practices that support volunteers who also are working or caregiving. These will inform ways for volunteer managers to more effectively engage older adults in volunteer work — for example, if a program director learns that a volunteer is a caregiver, they can connect that person with local caregiver resources.

The Center on Aging aims to promote and facilitate activities on aging in the areas of education, research and evaluation, and community service to maximize the quality of life in older citizens and their families in Maine and beyond.

Contact: Cleo Barker, 207.581.3729