University of the Third Age in Australia and New Zealand: Capitalising on the cognitive resources of older volunteers
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Aim: To quantify and ascribe a dollar value to University of the Third Age (U3A) volunteerism in Australia and New Zealand (NZ). Methods: Retired researchers and U3A leaders from both countries cooperated via the Internet to devise and manage a comprehensive survey of U3A activities in 2008. Results: In total, 164 of 265 independent U3As in Australasia provided detailed counts of all activities carried out by their volunteers. In 2008, Australian U3As were supported by 871 000 volunteer hours and NZ U3As were supported by 69 000 volunteer hours. A notional value of $20 per volunteer hour is rationalised. It values U3A volunteerism at $21 million for Australia and $1.9 million for NZ. Conclusion: Expert retirees who are engaged in meaningful voluntary activities in their U3As provide valuable in-kind contributions to the well-being of members and to the national economy.
Australasian Journal on Ageing
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified