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The importance of older people's volunteering and solidarity on their mental well-being
ABSTRACT Introduction: The concept of successful aging assumes that older people are active, which affect to their quality of life. Through volunteering and solidarity, as factors of social capital, older people spend their time more actively, which affect to their mental well-being. Well-being is a state of mental and psychological satisfaction of individual. The purpose of the study was to explore importance of volunteering and solidarity, as a factors of social capital, for the mental and psychological well-being of older people. In the study, the theoretical construct was designed based on theoretical knowledge about volunteering and solidarity and the well-being of older people. Methods: The survey used a quantitative research approach, using a survey method. The data were obtained with our own questionnaire, which was developed based on a theoretical construct. We conducted a survey in December 2019 to obtain data from 231 elderly people living in their home environment. Methods of descriptive and inference statistics were used in the study, and hypotheses were tested using correlation and regression analysis methods. Results: The results of the survey show that volunteering is important to older people, but most of them don’t do volunteering. More often, they are involved in solidarity in the form of helping or receiving help from others. We have found that the mental well-being of older people is at a satisfactory level. We also find that active volunteering and solidarity are positively related to the mental well-being of older people. Discussion and conclusions: Based on the results of the research, it can be concluded that volunteering and solidarity of older people are important for their subjective perception of mental well-being. The findings of the research are an important indicator of the state of volunteering and solidarity among Slovenian older people and the level of their mental well-being.