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Planning Retirement Online

Guide to an Affordable Later Lifestyle - Getting Social Contact

The vast majority of us like social contact; we enjoy meeting our friends, chatting with them, going out with them and being able to call on people if we want to discuss things or need help with something. Social contact also provides mental stimulation and it may even provide physical activity, depending on what we do with our friends when we get together with them.

Work provides social contact and, for many people, that social contact turns into friendship and our work colleagues, or some of them, become our friends. When we finish work, we lose that social contact and we may lose those friendships, too, depending on our location and where our work friends live. Therefore, we need to get social contact and make new friends through other means in later life.

Guide to an Affordable Later Lifestyle - links

We have already looked at some of those activities that keep us physically and mentally active that can also provide social contact. Joining sports clubs, doing exercise classes and joining the U3A are all mentioned in the previous two pages, so if you haven't read them yet, click the links in the box above. They are things that are cheap, or even free, and yet they provide the means through which we can enjoy our later lifestyle.

Work

Most people, when asked what is the thing they will miss most about work, reply, 'My friends and colleagues, the camaraderie.' Therefore, it might make sense to do some work as part of our later lifestyle. It makes no difference whether it's paid or voluntary, we still meet people and get the benefits that derive from that. If you want to do some voluntary work, read our  Guide on the subject and if you think that you might like some paid work to help boost the retirement funds, read our Guide to Part Time Jobs.

Joining Clubs

It can be a good idea to join clubs as part of our later lifestyle. We've already looked at sports clubs and walking groups but there are book clubs (which are usually free to join) and clubs associated with all kinds of hobbies. Just to choose one example, if you like sewing there are local groups for all kinds of sewing. Either google 'sewing groups in.....'  or go directly to The Sewing Directory, where you will find details of local sewing groups for different kinds of needlework. There are knitting groups, gardening groups and groups for almost any type of activity you can think of. So we don't have to do hobbies in splendid isolation; we can do them with others if we want to and get the benefit of the social contact.

Product DetailsMany towns and villages organise activities both for people in later life and for all ages. If you go onto the website of your town or village there may well be organised groups organised  that interest you. For example, local history groups are always very popular.

There are, of course, groups specifically for older age groups. They are not focussed on one particular hobby or activity but are there primarily for people in later life to get together and make new friends. They will organise trips and outings that members can go on or not as they please. So google, for example, 'Over 60s clubs in.......' and see what there is in your area.

Many of the types of club and group mentioned above are extremely cheap to join, so don't let price put you off. Some may even be free and you just turn up when you wish and participate on your own terms. So do a bit of research and join those that suit you financially.

Getting Out and About

Social contact does not get delivered by the postman. Therefore, if we want to get social contact we need to go out. This provides social contact and can provide us with both mental and physical activity. When we're out we meet people, see different things and who knows what might follow. We might make friends with people we meet or we might be inspired to take up a new hobby by something that we see. If nothing else, we will hopefully have an interesting time. So how do we do that cheaply? What about the following:

  • Go walking or cycling
  • Use your bus pass once you qualify for it
  • Go to museums and art galleries, many of which are free
  • Go to lunchtime concerts
  • Visit local parks
  • Go to the library (where we can get free books, free newspapers, join a book group and so on)
  • Visit local places of interest
  • Go to the seaside

Do some research (which is another free activity) on what there is in your area and then get out and explore all those things.

Some people do become somewhat isolated in later life and don't get the social contact that they should. This is sometimes partly because they don't think that they can afford to do it, but there are lots of cheap, or free, ways to get social contact as part of our later lifestyle and therefore get the most from it.

Now read the rest of the Guide to see what else we  can do to see what else we can do to have an affordable later lifestyle. If you have any ideas of your own that we can add to this Guide, please complete the feedback form.

This Guide to an Affordable Later Lifestyle is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.

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