After years in a nine to five pattern, retirement is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with loved ones.
For many retirees, however, work-free days can lead to condensed social circles and fewer daily interactions. This is echoed amongst the older generation, with almost ¾ of older people feeling lonely and 56% of them never sharing these feelings with others.
However, while this is a widespread issue, it does not need to be your retirement reality. Continue reading, below, to see how you can find meaningful connections in retirement.
1. Become a volunteer
Your days of commuting might be over, but there are still ways to stretch out your days with social activities that benefit the community.
Whether you choose to volunteer at a local charity shop a few days of the week, help out at community events or clean up your local beach, there are plenty of social activities to enjoy in your golden years. Not only does volunteering stimulate the mind, it also improves an individual’s physical wellbeing and even reduces the chance of disability.
2. Join or organise a club
As a retiree, you will be eager to take advantage of your new-found free time. Whether you want to dust off your old set of golf clubs or attempt delicious new recipes in the kitchen, there are ways to forge social connections by sharing hobbies with like-minded people.
Those with a passion for paperbacks, for instance, might find friends at their local book club. Or, if fresh air and exercise sound tempting, a walking group in the countryside could fill out your days. Those privy to a tipple could even form a local beer-tasting group to find the best pub in town.
Not only do clubs keep you stimulated mentally, they also provide a routine so there is always something new to look forward with every passing week. You can check for any interesting clubs at your local community centre. Alternatively, you could expand your search onto social media or via friendship websites like Meetup.
3. Take classes
It is never too late to learn something new – and there is no better time to put yourself ‘out there’ than during retirement.
Do you love to make cakes for the grandchildren? Join a local cooking class to finesse your baking style. Want to get creative with crockery? Sign up to a pottery class. No matter where your passions lie, attending these sessions can help strengthen your social network, as well as providing you with a new set of skills.
Search for classes online or head to the local library, community centre or college to keep up to date with your area’s social scene.
4. Embrace technology
While iPads and pensioners may not be considered a ‘natural fit’, technology does have its benefits in retirement – do not worry though, it is much easier than it sounds.
If you want to keep in touch with old friends, for instance, you could send them a message on Facebook. For long-distance family, FaceTime or Skype are perfect. All free to use, these apps are easy to operate when you know how – and, if you are struggling, you can always refer to the expertise of your tech-savvy grandchildren.
5. Visit family
While technology is fantastic for keeping up-to-date with long-distance family and friends, there is no substitute for the real thing. However, lack of mobility or confidence on the road could prevent you from seeing them in person.
To work around this, you might want to see which free or discounted bus travel options there are for seniors in your local area. Failing that, train companies often offer fantastic cut-price tickets for pensioners. The Trainline, for instance, lets senior citizens travel for a third of the standard price.
Looking after the pennies
While many social activities are free, the majority come at a (small) price – and these can add up as the years go by.
To ensure all your social plans can be achieved in later life, it is a good idea to prepare your finances accordingly. In these cases, you might want to consider releasing equity from your home. This lets older homeowners unlock wealth, which is tied up in their property, giving them the financial freedom to fulfil their retirement goals.
To learn more about the benefits of equity release, or to discuss your financial plans in more detail, contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on Freephone 0800 802 1051, or email [email protected] .