6 ways to play an active part in the community – no matter what your age
You’ve probably heard people say – or perhaps you’ve said it yourself – “Since I’ve retired, I’ve never been so busy!”. With our older generation taking better care of their health and fitness, it’s not unusual to find ‘retirees’ who never fully retire!
Of course, we’re not suggesting that you slog away at a job you don’t enjoy. Your retirement years could be the time to devote yourself to something more meaningful, something that brings you joy and adds value to the lives of others.
You may want to expand your creative skills into teaching, or turn your hand to a craft or hobby that brings in a little extra money while also keeping your mind and body active.
Here are some ways you can stay active and relevant in retirement, while making a positive difference to your own life and your community.
1) Put your hand up to volunteer
From Meals on Wheels to working in a charity shop, ushering at events, counselling or caring for rescued animals, organisations are always on the lookout for volunteers.
You may want to step back into an industry you’ve worked in previously, or perhaps learn something new. Most organisations are happy to train volunteer staff and will be grateful for the wealth of experience you bring.
Which charities or organisations are closest to your heart – and closest to your home? Websites such as Volunteering Australia or Seek Volunteer can be a good place to start, but there are countless projects looking for an extra pair of hands.
Your local visitor information centre, library or neighbourhood centre may also point you in the right direction. Hospitals, nursing homes, schools and kindergartens often have volunteer programs, or you could ask your family, friends and neighbours. You might be surprised at the number of people in your circle who volunteer and the range of interesting opportunities available.
2) Teach what you know
If you have a skill you can pass on, you might like to run one-on-one sessions or group workshops, and even supplement your pension. There are many young girls (and older women) who haven’t yet learnt how to sew, knit, or even cook. Some young men would love to learn the basics of woodworking, small engine repairs, or how to brew a decent beer!
If your talents lie in your management or leadership skills, business groups such as Chambers of Commerce may be interested in having you as a guest speaker to share your knowledge.
Before offering your services for a fee, make sure you check out the local and federal government requirements for operating a business, including the premises you intend to use. If your ‘enterprise’ is deemed as a hobby, you may avoid having to pay fees.
Your retirement estate may also offer opportunities for you to run classes. Just let management know what you would like to share, and ask if they can assist you in promoting classes.
3) Step forward as a committee member
Do you have a knack for organising things? If so, then you’ll always have a role as a committee member. Find the clubs or groups that appeal, go along to a meeting or two, and if you like what you see and feel you have something to contribute, let them know.
Most roles become vacant at the Annual General Meeting and often long-serving committee members are happy to hand over the reins to newer members who can bring fresh ideas and input.
4) Become a mentor and change someone’s life
As an older person you can have a huge impact on someone’s life as a mentor. Not just for young people, but people at all stages of life. Business owners are seeking advice and support from those who have been before. Students would benefit from a little help and guidance. Graduates need mentors who can help them transition into the workplace.
Organisations such as Raise, Your Town, The Smith Family or Try Mentoring offer youth mentoring services that rely on the talents and generosity of volunteers. They provide comprehensive training, so as well as helping mentor a young person you may just pick up some valuable skills you can apply to your own life.
If you’ve come from a professional background, check with your industry body whether they have mentoring programs to assist recent graduates. Do a little research and see what you can find. You may also find mentoring programs for beginner teachers and nurses. How wonderful would it be to give a hand up to someone at the end of your career and the start of theirs?
If the program you are looking for doesn’t exist, don’t let that stop you! You can still offer your services to anyone who needs it. Post a notice on your community noticeboard or on social media and see where it leads.
5) Offer to work “pro bono” to support charities
If you’re still legally registered in your field of work, then you may like to offer your expertise pro bono to Australian charities that need your support.
Every year there are people from many different backgrounds who carve off a little time to work free of charge to help those who need it. The best place to explore pro bono opportunities is by heading online to the Pro Bono Australia website.
6) Look after the grandkids
Of course, one of the most rewarding, challenging and fun roles you can take on in retirement is being a grandparent. If parenting is the most important job in the world, then grand-parenting must run a close second! With both parents often working, many grandparents are providing part-time or even full-time care to their grandchildren.
If you’re fortunate enough to live close to your family and can offer a hand, you will be rewarded tenfold. Sure, you may be exhausted at the end of the day after running around after a toddler. And, you might find homework has changed a lot since you went to school! Yet one thing’s for sure, there are not many other roles where you can help shape the future of a young person more than when you turn up for grandma or grandad duty.
Be inspired in your retirement at Kensington Gardens Shepparton and Albury
Whether you want to fully retire, partly retire, or continue to play a role in your community, Kensington Gardens Lifestyle Estates at Shepparton and Albury offer you the freedom and flexibility to do your retirement your way!
We believe retirement really can be the best time of your life. Download our free guide: ‘Ways To Improve Your Health and Longevity in Retirement.’ It’s filled with tips to help you look forward to your retirement whatever that may look like for you – a time to rest up, give back, live it up, or discover new possibilities.
If you’d like to see Kensington Gardens for yourself, arrange your personal tour by calling us today or get in touch online to book a time to come in and visit us.