How civic engagement and participation can benefit older adults

It is estimated that 5% to 15% of the population lives with a feeling of loneliness and that over 30% of older adults in Canada are at high risk of loneliness. Civic engagement, including volunteering, can address social isolation amongst older adults and provide a sense of accomplishment and belonging to the community. This feeling is accompanied by positive benefits for your health and quality of life. 

Civic participation aims to help others, solve community problems, or produce a common good and may include actions such as helping friends and neighbours, donating to a charity or organization, or volunteering for a community organization. Civic participation (especially volunteering) seems to be the key to meeting the needs of older adults in terms of proximity, meaningful relationships and reciprocity.

Read more about what the latest research says about civic engagement and participation and the many benefits of both for older adults. 

Get the latest content first. Sign up for free weekly email alerts.
Author Details

DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.