When you think about planning for your retirement, you automatically think about money.
But when it comes to living an enjoyable and fulfilling retirement, there’s more to it than just financial planning. Social planning should also be considered.
Having more time to spend with family and friends, volunteering and joining new groups that spark your interest are not only enjoyable, but are great for your health and wellbeing.
Here are our top tips for staying connected in retirement.
Don’t be afraid of technology and social media
Many older Australians are embracing the digital life.
These days the internet makes staying in touch with family and friends easier than ever. Sending emails from your phone, making video calls through FaceTime or Skype and seeing what people are up to through Facebook are just some of the ways that people are staying in touch.
You’re never too old to start using a smartphone or computer. In fact, your local library may run simple low-cost (or free) computing and technology courses to help you use a mobile, computer, the internet, email and educate you in online protection. They may also have online collaboration courses to help you use social tools like Skype, Messenger (Facebook) and FaceTime.
If you’re comfortable using a computer and the internet, but would like a little bit of help using computer programs, there are free online basic computer training courses, including learning how to use the Microsoft Office suite.
Technology has also evolved to be very inclusive and accessible. So if you’re worried that your vision, hearing or mobility requirements might stop you using a computer, don’t be!
Microsoft has a suite of built-in accessibility tools and features to allow a diverse range of users to be able to reap the benefits of using technology, such as staying connected online. There are simple ways to update your computer to suit your vision, hearing or mobility requirements.
Join a group
Staying connected isn’t all about being online, in fact there are some great community-based social groups that you can be part of.
For some of us, reaching retirement and spending 24/7 with the other half can be challenging and you might find you’d like to find an activity to do to on your own. Men’s sheds are available all around Australia and they provide a great place for mateship to grow while still keeping active. There are also great groups that support women that you might like to be part of, such as the CWA, Inner Wheel, Zonta and Lioness.
Or if you’re looking for something to do with your other half, you could look at joining a gym or a fitness club together. You might like to take up yoga or take part in a meditation class. Maybe one of your family members is involved in a football or netball club and you could put you hand up to volunteer your time at the club. There are also lots of choir groups or bands if you enjoy music.
Or, create your own group
If you’ve got a group of friends with some common interests, you might like to start your own community group.
Making a regular meeting time and inviting people to get together is a great way to stay connected. It doesn’t have to be at your home, it could be at the local coffee shop, at a library or even at a nearby RSL club.
A good way to connect with people could be to create a Facebook group. A Facebook group is an online community where people can communicate through posts and discuss and organise events or meetings. You can even expand your community by asking members to invite their friends in to the Facebook group.
Reach out to others
A fulfilling retirement for you might involve giving some of your time to others. You could volunteer in your grandchild’s classroom, read to the elderly in a nursing home, or ask your local hospital if they run a cuddles program for premature babies.
While you’re busy planning for you retirement, make sure you think about how you’re going to stay in touch with people and get involved in the community, if that’s something you’d like to do. And don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. The internet and other social communication apps are a great place to start when it comes to staying connected.