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Senior service – Aiming to give back

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More senior citizens in the U.S. are volunteering, but they’re spending less time doing so, a new report says.

Twenty-eight million senior volunteers gave roughly 5 billion hours of time in 1998 at a value of $71.2 billion to nonprofit groups and causes, says the report by Independent Sector, a nonprofit membership and advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

That compares to 24 million seniors who gave roughly 5.5 billion hours in 1995 at a value of $70.5 billion.

In 1998, however, older Americans volunteered an average of 3.3 hours a week, one hour less than they did in 1995, when they gave 4.4 hours.

Volunteering at least once during 1998 were 48 percent of those 55 and older.

The peak age for senior volunteers was 55 to 64 years old, with 50.3 percent of that group volunteering in 1998.

Forty-seven percent of those 65 to 74 years old, and 43 percent of those 75 and older volunteered an average of 3.1 hours a week.

Forty-seven percent of black seniors and 41 percent of Hispanic seniors volunteered – big increases for both groups.

More than half of senior volunteers say they volunteer because they want to give back to society some of the benefits they receive individually.

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