According to a study conducted over an eight-year period at the University of Michigan, retirees who were active volunteers were 40 percent more likely to be alive at the end of the study than nonvolunteers [source: Wheeler]. That should be reason enough to consider volunteering. Not only does it keep you moving and engaged, volunteering also instills a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
There are so many opportunities that you might feel overwhelmed, but some things may seem like a natural fit if you consider your interests. Check out volunteer opportunities at local schools, such as assisting with an after-school program. Animal shelters can always use someone to walk dogs. You could work in a museum as a docent or as a tour guide at a park. Your local church or other house of worship should have suggestions for you.
If you find yourself stuck, consider calling or looking up your local chapter of United Way. This charity organization is actually a coalition of other organizations and can match you with volunteer opportunities that will suit you best. You could also try Volunteer Match. There are also organizations that specifically recruit senior citizens, such as Senior Corps. They have programs such as Foster Grandparents, which matches exceptional children with adults ages 60 and older who mentor them and help them with reading and schoolwork.