Why friendships are important once you’ve retired

Plus 7 great tips on how to build and maintain relationships in retirement

Many studies have shown that being socially active can positively affect your health and wellbeing as you age. Humans are supposed to be connected!

Even if you consider yourself a loner, or you’re quite happy with your own company, it’s important to have people in your life – and that’s especially the case in retirement.

If you have a great social circle in place and you’re actively involved in your community, you’re in a great place to be more physically active and feel happier and more supported. And you don’t need to be surrounded by people all day every day – you just need to interact on a regular basis.

How relationships can change in retirement

You’ve reached an age where you’ve had people come and go from your life. Your children have grown up and left to start their own families. You may have lost loved ones through death, or been separated by circumstances or geography. Friends may have left the area, become grey nomads, or moved into retirement living.

Unless you’ve actively worked to keep up your connections, maintain your community involvement or grown new friendships, it’s easy for your world to start to shrink. There’s nothing wrong with a little ‘alone’ time – in fact it’s good for you. It’s just when you stop accepting invitations, and spend more time in your favourite chair and less time outside that things can go downhill!

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You can easily find that you lack motivation and your only companions are feelings of loneliness and sadness. It’s very easy to slip from there into a state of anxiety or even depression which can erode your self-esteem and confidence. Suddenly you find yourself home alone all day doing crosswords and watching Home and Away!

That’s not the retirement you always dreamed of! But there are some easy ways to get the person-to-person contact you need to feel fulfilled, happy and uplifted.

1) Join a group and meet new people

Here’s one of the best ways to get involved and meet interesting people. Joining a group helps you take a step into your community and enjoy a whole host of activities, special interests, meetings and events.

Meeting regularly to do an activity you enjoy will give you a real boost and something to look forward to. Start by looking for common interest groups; or if you’re feeling adventurous, seek out groups that are a little outside your comfort zone such as meditation, DIY car repairs, aqua aerobics or basket weaving!

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Think of what you loved in your youth, or perhaps see out a new pursuit. Most towns have a club for just about everything filled with members who love to socialise and share their expertise.

2) Create your own group

If being with groups of people lifts your spirits, then find ways to make that happen. If you like entertaining, then entertain. Pot luck dinners are wonderful (and inexpensive) and everyone can take turns at hosting. Movie nights (whether at home or at the cinema) are fun as you can dissect the film afterwards over a meal.

Invite friends to join you for activities you would usually do alone such as golf, fishing, walking or cycling – which by the way can be safer in numbers.

3) Reconnect with old friends

It’s quite easy (and understandable) to lose contact with people over the years and fade out of their lives. If you’re fortunate to have wonderful friends in your life, reach out to them. They might just be waiting for your invitation!

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Make the effort to organise a regular catch up, even if it’s just a cuppa or a chat over the phone. Find what brings you both joy and fill your days with more of that.

You might want to get out of the house and explore different cafés, take the dogs for a walk together, or have a monthly ‘date day’ to somewhere new. Having a commitment to a friend will also ensure you make it happen. You’ll have someone who is relying on you and vice versa.

4) Try staying connected via Facebook

Of course, it doesn’t replace real human contact, but Facebook is an excellent way to connect and reconnect with friends and family. More over 60’s than ever are using Facebook to keep up on family news, find long lost friends, send instant messages and chat via video.

Many libraries or community centres offer classes and it doesn’t take long to learn the basics. You’ll be uploading your selfies in no time!

5) Organise a group adventure

Travelling with a group is a smart way to go. It’s safer, cheaper and everything is organised for you. There are now many travel companies specialising in group travel for over 60’s – most even have a tour guide to keep you informed and entertained along the way.

You’ll meet people from a wide range of backgrounds who may just become life-long friends. And once you have Facebook down pat, you’ll be able to keep in touch wherever you are!

6) Volunteer your time & skills

There may be no better way to feel connected than to offer your services and skills to do good for others. Local charities and groups are always putting the call out for volunteers. In fact most of them would not be able to continue their good work without volunteer support.

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Think about which charity most appeals to you, whether it’s helping farmers, fighting for freedom of speech, or looking after our veterans. Do a little research on what’s available in your area and reach out your hand to help.

When you band together with people in an effort to help others, you will find your time passes more quickly, your step becomes lighter, and you go to bed more fulfilled, knowing you helped make a difference.

7) Think about moving to a retirement village

The social benefits of living in a retirement community are widely known. Even the smallest villages have regular activities where you can meet people, learn a new skill or just have some fun. Larger villages are more like resorts, with so many things to do you’ll have to buy a diary just to keep track!

And of course, you don’t have to do it all – you can pick and choose whatever takes your fancy. The added benefit of larger retirement community is you’re more likely to meet people you click with; people from similar backgrounds or with interests and values that align with yours.

Arrange your personal tour of Kensington Gardens

Visit Kensington Gardens and find a retirement community that cares

Retirement living has come such a long way in recent years. Kensington Gardens Albury and Shepparton were built for active retirees, people who want to enjoy every moment, join in fun activities with like-minded friends, learn new skills and take off on adventures!

We invite you to come for a visit and see for yourself whether our retirement communities are a good fit for you.

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.

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