Happy Retirement – Make the most out of life

Learning new skills is key to a happy retirement and the first step in a journey toward greater personal growth

Written by stannah

Rehabilitation after a stroke

Age is just a number and retirement is now considered by many to be the “golden age” of adulthood. As life expectancy increases, having a happy retirement is now more important than ever. This is perhaps unsurprising, as retirees finally find themselves with sufficient free time to pursue those interests that most excite and stimulate them. If you are a retiree or a retiree-to-be, don’t wait to figure out what are you passionate about. Now is the time to seize the day!

There must be something you’ve always wanted to do learn, but didn’t have time for. It’s time to continue to pursue happiness and keep learning new skills. We’re happy to provide you with some tips to make the most out of your retirement.

Travel in retirement

Travel in retirement

Taking a break from your daily routine, whether in Australia or abroad, can really help to clear your mind and boost your energy levels. However, to enable you to take full advantage of your retirement, it’s important to do a little planning, to ensure you pick the perfect destination.

Firstly, it’s important to consider what you’re looking for. Are you looking for an exciting new challenge, some cultural stimulation or just some rest and relaxation? Once you’ve decided upon a theme for your trip, you will have a better idea of which destinations can meet your needs.

Secondly, are you aware of the available senior discounts? For instance, this can apply to museums and concerts. You can even buy tickets online to skip the waiting lines.

Never too late to learn a new language

Find time to learn a new language in retirement

Last year, The Guardian discussed this trend of learning a new language in an interview with Ronald Williams, an 85-year-old gentleman. Ronald described the importance of learning a new language, saying: “I was excited at the prospect of learning a language,” says Williams. “I regret not doing it in my younger days. When you’re bringing up a family and working you’re committed to those things. Learning a language and meeting people is exciting. It’s nice to go out and I look forward to [it].”

There are many ways to challenge yourself and learn a new skill, but learning a new language is just one of the many options – and it is fantastic one, as it not only keeps the brain active, but language lessons can be very sociable events and a great opportunity for people to make new friends.

And, of course, the best way to practice a new language is to travel – so what’s not to love?

Learn to play a musical instrument

Find time to learn a new language in retirement

For many, a new challenge – whether mental or physical – can be an extremely rewarding experience.

Many decide to try their hand at a musical instrument. Research led by Prof. Sue Hallam, from the UCL Institute of Education, has shown that older people who take up music had a more positive outlook, felt more in control of their lives and said the activity helped keep their minds sharp and, ultimately, happier.

In some cases, people started learning when they were young but didn’t persevere; sometimes they’ve never done anything remotely musical before. However, everyone seems to agree that it can tricky to learn – it takes time, effort and no small amount of patience, but you’ll feel the hard-earned happiness of learning something new.

Get into Photography

Learn how to take great pictures and register every moment

Learning how to take great pictures is a worthwhile venture! Maybe you’d just like to take better pictures of your family or places you’ve been, but you’ll feel happy to share the beautiful pictures you’ve taken.

Laura Hofstadter returned to photography at the age of 65; a passion she pursued in college but left behind when she devoted herself to raising a family and dealing with her own health issues.

Here are eight tips if you want to get into photography:

  • Find what inspires you
  • Get a camera and get to know your camera
  • Or find a Smartphone with a good camera
  • Bring your camera everywhere
  • Learn about the best lighting
  • Just shoot (daily).

There are other testimonials from people that have never touched a computer before retirement, and suddenly, they have become masters of photo editing. These are only a few examples. There are so many different ways to enjoy photography!

Learn more about Technologies

Learn more about technologies in retirement

It is never too late to discover new technologies and it’s a fact that stepping outside your comfort zone keeps you sharper. It can help you stimulate those grey cells and open up your eyes to new activities, enable you to meet likeminded individuals!

Older adults that grew up in a predigital age are gradually finding more user-friendly software and apps available, because there is a concerted effort to make technology easier for them to use.

We’ve found an interview of Marian Glodberg (70), in a New York Times’s article, where she explains how she used to feel very intimidated by digital technology and she went to the Senior Exploration Centre in Manhattan, which teaches older adults how to become more comfortable with new technologies. After a few months, she had mastered enough tools to reframe herself as a digital entrepreneur.

According to researcher Denise Park of the University of Texas, Dallas:

We need, as a society, to learn how to maintain a healthy mind, just like we know how to maintain vascular health with diet and exercise. Also, When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.

You may find examples like these across the country. Senior centres, retirement communities and senior well-being advocacy groups are offering more free courses for older adults.

What if I don’t know what to do after retirement?

If you dont know what to do after retirement, maybe it’s because you think about others and how to help them. It is not uncommon to have retirees saying that their definition of success relates to giving back. You may not be a wealthy person, but studies show that retirees are more likely to define their own personal success in retirement by their generosity than by their wealth.

So, you may want to be a hands-on person, utilizing your skills and talents to help local organizations that matter to you. Think about what will bring you a sense of purpose and meaning.

You can find a list of Non-profit organisations based in New Zealand here.

Get inspired by Stannah’s customers

Stannah happy customers

Inspired by some of our amazing customers, we have given some thought to how they cope with retirement. So, we’ve heard of some unexpected skills that people have learned at an older age.

One friend of Stannah, for example, has been taught stone masonry. Another has taken up archery and one has decided to learn how to fly a helicopter – so the sky is quite literally the limit in this case!

What’s clear to see is that many people in retirement take up new activities in order to boost their social lives. Activities like joining a bridge club or getting involved in charity work are great ways to meet new people and their popularity shows how keen people are to not only learn new skills, but also to maintain active social lives.

It doesn’t matter what motivates you to try something new. What’s important is that you recognize that growing older doesn’t mean that the opportunity for experimenting has passed.

It is quite the opposite, in fact.

Here at Stannah Stairlifts, we are constantly inspired by the experiences our customers have and hope to hear more of them.

Further reading:

Senior air travel: friend or foe?
Senior gardening: learn more about the benefits of a therapeutic garden
Books to read by the fire: this list will get you through the dark winter months!