Volunteering and Active Aging in Italy

By Lucia Boccacin.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 14, 2016 $US5.00

My work explores the opportunities that ageing actively offers at the individual and collective levels, focusing my analysis on older adults (aged 65–74) engaged in voluntary activities in third-sector organizations. To outline the social role played by elder volunteers in Italy, I performed synthetic indexes and a cluster analysis (with SPAD software) on a stratified randomized sample, representative of the Italian active older adults aged 65–74 years (N=146) engaged in pro-social activities in third-sector organizations. The analyses show that in providing aid to others these active elders establish a strong support network for themselves. I have also found that Italian third-sector organizations are intergenerational in terms of co-existence of young, adult, and elderly volunteers, which contributes to the well-being of all the stakeholders involved. Coming together on a regular basis stimulates the activation of behavioral, material, interpersonal, and communicative resources. Volunteering in later life is associated with reinforcement of self-fulfillment and formation of one’s social identity. Furthermore, thick networks of social relations at the micro and meso (i.e., community) levels facilitate older people’s inclusion in voluntary work.

Keywords: Elderly Volunteers, Social Participation, Third-sector Organizations

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.77-90. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 14, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 864.748KB)).

Prof. Lucia Boccacin

Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Education, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy