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Post - January 23, 2018
Helping Me More Than Helping Others? It’s Not As Selfish As You Think.
According to a 2013 Blackbaud study, about 34% of all charitable giving is done in the last three months of the year, with about 18% given in December alone. But that means the other 66% is given throughout the year – and if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to increase your personal philanthropy, January is only halfway over, so there’s still time to keep the commitment. The holiday season is indeed a time of giving but while most of us are inspired by feelings of the heart, there are other reasons that can nudge us in the direction of year-round philanthropy.
You can save on your taxes. A gift to a qualified charitable organization may entitle you to a charitable contribution deduction against your federal and state income tax if you itemize deductions. (You must itemize in order to take a charitable deduction and your total deductions must be greater than the standard deduction.) With many tax deductions on the hit list of the current administration, this is one that’ll enrich your bottom line as well as your heart.
You’ll feel rich. Studies show that giving boosts physical and mental health for the giver. According to a study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology, people who gave social support to others also had lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem and less depression than those who didn’t. A University of California – Berkeley study found that people who were 55 and older who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t volunteer — even accounting for many other factors including age, exercise, general health and negative habits like smoking. Finally, there is evidence that, during gift-giving behaviors, humans secrete “feel good” chemicals in our brains, such as serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding chemical).
Set an example for the younger generation. If you have children in your life, either yours or those of a relative’s and friend’s, donating to charity will show them you care about others and inspire then to want to make the world a better place. If you involve children in choosing charities, you will instill a desire to share and serve that will last throughout their lives.
Be a part of something bigger. Maybe you don’t think your donation is large enough to make a difference. Donating a little bit of money or time may not seem like much on its own but if your donation is joined with others, it becomes something much bigger. Maybe you only have $25 to donate to Senior Connections, but do you realize that just $6 covers one meal for a needy senior? That $25 covers three meals; donating just a couple of hours on a weekday can enhance your monetary contribution by helping the organization deliver those meals and brighten a senior’s day.
Forget the things that divide us. The best part of helping others? When you are united in a common goal, such as solving hunger needs for seniors aging in place, you forget about the things that separate us. A group of volunteers working together in the Senior Connections kitchen are united in their goal of creating and delivering nutritious meals, which has nothing to do with politics, race, gender or any of the other myriad of things that divide us. Maybe if we focused more on what unites us, such as helping others, we would have less time (or brain bandwidth) to focus on what separates us. Giving to others increases our capacity for love. It makes us realize that even if you don’t have much, you have enough to share with others. We are so divided as a country; differing views on gender, race, religion and, most prominently, politics has polarized our society and fractured our humanity. Philanthropy is our best hope to rebuild our human connections and remind us of the fact that we are all of members of a single family – the human race.
Post December, 2017
Welcome to Care Connections – a service of Senior Connections.
Most older persons with long-term care needs—65%—rely exclusively on family and friends to provide assistance. Another 30% will supplement family care with assistance from paid providers. Care provided by family and friends can determine whether older persons can remain at home. In fact, 50% of the elderly who have a long-term care need but no family available to care for them are in nursing homes, while only 7% who have a family caregiver are in institutional settings.
· An estimated 66% of caregivers are female.
· The average caregiver is a 49 year old woman, caring for her 60 year old mother who does not live with her. She is married and employed.
· Although men also provide assistance, female caregivers may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers.
In the coming weeks, Senior Connections will provide resources, discussions, and other valuable information – not just from us but from guests in related industries and family members struggling to balance their own needs with those of loved ones needing care. We welcome your stories and your feedback. To submit contact for this blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s Question: Do you have a senior loved one who is still driving and shouldn’t be?
Statistics excerpted from: https://www.caregiver.org