In the spring of 2018 a multi-phase study, funded by the AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors (formerly Corporation for National and Community Service and Senior Corps), was launched to examine: 1. the relationship between holding multiple roles (such as caregiving, working for pay, and informal volunteering) and older adult volunteering outcomes; 2. the benefits that older adults gain from volunteering; and 3. the strategies used by both volunteers and volunteer programs to help older adults juggle increasingly “full plates” of activities. Using a national sample drawn from the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the study yielded valuable information about how older adults and their volunteer programs are able to avoid and address role conflict.
This report details strategies that volunteer program sites are currently implementing that better support volunteers who are also workers and/or caregivers in order for other volunteer programs to consider implementing similar best practices. Eleven volunteer programs were recruited from sites that participated in the core role conflict study in addition to those who were recruited by word of mouth through RSVP networks. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with interested sites.
This report describes the categories of strategies identified from interviewees. Relevant themes include: 1) On-boarding processes that are sensitive to the needs of caregivers and workers including the subthemes of intake procedures and volunteer training; 2) The provision of breaks and flexible scheduling for volunteers; 3) Time-limited and intermittent volunteer opportunities; 4) The use of substitute volunteer positions; 5) Remote and home-based volunteer opportunities; and 6) Supports, resources and wellness resources, with a subtheme that touches on collaborative practices.
Crittenden, Jennifer; Hartford, Abbie; and Coleman, Rachel, "Supporting Older Workers and Caregivers Who Volunteer: Examples from The Field" (2021). Maine Center on Aging Research and Evaluation. 45.
pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.