I remember when I was younger, I looked at retirement completely differently than I do now. The only retirees I knew, watched TV and went to the grocery store. Other than the occasional big trip to Europe, they were far from staying active in retirement and I did not think they were having fun.
We must stay active in retirement. Getting enough rest, having a good health care regimen that includes exercise, a healthy diet and keeping a good social calendar is important to finding our purpose in retirement. When seniors have a purpose, not only are they are much happier in retirement, but they are healthier too. Retirement no longer looks like it did with our parents!
Travel is the number one activity for retirees. A staggering 65% plan on making travel a priority. Some may want to visit family and friends while others will want to travel the world in luxury. Even if you are on a budget, you can still make travel a priority with day and weekend trips locally.
Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you have your travel plans are in place early. As we age it can be more difficult to take long road trips and fly for 15 hours.
Buy an RV
I know that this could be considered a travel-related activity but there are many retirees who want to sell everything and hit the road either permanently or for an extended period of time. They will make the road their home and often set up camp for several weeks and months in climate-friendly areas.
There are many who park their RVs in parks in Florida during the winter, go to the mountains in the fall and then head up north during the spring and summer. Road trips are in! Whether you sell your home or keep it is up to you. But this could be a great way to spend at least a couple of years of your retirement.
Take College Classes
Many seniors are finding fulfillment by hitting the books! They are going back to college in what is called Lifelong Learning Classes at local community colleges. Coursera is one of my favorites because they offer many free classes. There is no college credit received and the tuition fees are significantly lower than regular classes. This is a great way to keep your brain engaged and maintain your cognitive abilities.
Learning something new helps to create new brain cells and also be more social, so get to class!
Get Social to Stay Active!
It is important that new retirees maintain their existing social relationships and also get out there and make new ones! When folks leave the workforce they miss the socialization that comes with having a career. They also realize that they may have allowed their friendships outside of work to grow stale while they were raising a family and focusing on their career.
Once you get through the honeymoon period of retirement you will want to have friends that are a part of your life. Otherwise, seniors can become isolated and can become depressed. Friends can make events, sports and other activities more fun.
Join the Arts Community
This will depend on where you live but even small towns have a local theater or museums that you can become a part of. You can either become a member, volunteer or join a benevolence committee. Either way, it can be extremely fulfilling to participate in events that are art centered. It is also a great way to be social!
Gardening is one of the top retirement activities. Because it promotes good health from being outside, stretching and getting sun it has become very popular among retirees.
There are so many ways you can garden too. Many will choose vegetables, but there are many types of gardening that have become more popular. Some of them include Bonsais, Succulents, Food Forests and Orchids. Gardeners live longer too!
Take Daily Walks
I am sure we remember all of the power walkers at the mall with their headsets. Now that many malls are closing, communities are making sure that there are plenty of trails and walking paths for folks to get back outside. You can look for local Rails to Trails, Nature Paths, Fitness Parks and waterfront trails to get your daily walks in.
I noticed on Facebook I was seeing lots of groups getting together at different restaurants during the week. The restaurant would offer a discount to the group with a set menu that was just for them. A group of folks would head out to sample the menu and then post their photos on Facebook. It is a great win for the restaurant, who drives traffic during the week and get publicity and a win for the group who gets the special deal!
Become an Entrepreneur!
Why would you want to work when you just retired??? Well, it only takes a few months to start to realize that there are only so many things you are interested in doing. Even traveling all the time can be tiresome. You can do anything from crafting at home and selling them at art shows and farmer’s markets on the weekends to opening a retail boutique. The decision is yours!
Take Dance Classes
Every time we go on a cruise we are the first ones to take dance classes by the pool. Our favorite part is nobody knows us. We are terrible but we have fun! It is great exercise and helps hits the socialization bucket. Here is a list of some popular ones for retirees. There are also many community centers and churches that will provide a venue for dance events.
- Latin Dancing
- The 50s Bebop
- Swing Dancing
- Square Dancing
- Barre Ballet
- Ballroom Dancing
- Country Line Dancing
Work Part-Time as a Substitute Teacher
My grandfather and stepmother both loved being a substitute teacher when they were retired. They could pick and choose when they wanted to work and getting in the classroom was fulfilling because you were helping kids. Often their offer of a day or two would turn into full-time work if a teacher ended up staying out for an extended period of time.
Tutoring is another way to stay active in retirement and help others. When I was homeschooling my daughter, I hired a professor who offered tutoring help to get us through some of her advanced math courses. (I am terrible at math) Regardless, I needed her! When my daughter returned to school she was working at the college level from the work this tutor did with her. Many families are in need of tutors because it is difficult to get help from an already overtaxed school system.
Write a Book!
This was one of my goals when I decided to retire and started my blog. Because I was a blogger, I was unexpectedly offered a book deal only a couple of years in. However, I had already looked into self-publishing if that had not happened. Many authors are self-publishing and adding their book to Amazon and making sales.
There are many 501c3s and other organizations looking for help from seniors who are looking to stay active in retirement. One guest writer here even decided to join the Peace Corps for his retirement. In my community, our Sherrif’s Department has seniors patrolling during the day to assist citizens with issues like locking your keys in your can or traffic light outages. This is a great idea for anyone who is retired from the military or law enforcement, but they will take and train anyone with interest. There are so many ways to volunteer whether you live in a small town or a big city.
Here are some to consider.
- United Way
- Salvation Army
- Red Cross
- Food Banks
- Habitat for Humanity
- Safe Space
- Law Enforcement
- Environmental groups
- Humane Society or ASPCA
Here are some websites that offer comprehensive lists and match volunteers with organizations that are looking for help.
Get a Part Time Job
Many seniors love to work part-time. IN fact, according to the 19th Annual Transamerica Center for Retirement study, 55% of American seniors will continue to work, with 41% working part-time. It will supplement their income, provides social interaction and gets them out of the house a couple of days a week. Here are the top 10 positions among retirees who decide to continue working part-time.
- Beauty Salons
- Spa or Massage Office
- Bank Customer Service Rep or Teller
- Nursing or Home Healthcare Provider
- Personal Assistant or Driver
- School Bus Driver
- Retail Sales
- Security Guard
Move to the City
This may seem counterintuitive to some, but I know as I have aged, I really enjoy visiting cities that offer nightlife, the arts and theater and I especially love to visit museums. If you are looking for a cultural change to stay active in retirement, it may sound appealing to get an apartment in a city and start enjoying the aspects of city life.
Remodel Your Home
This is actually something I have considered recently being a real estate investor. We downsized from our larger home where we raised our children, to prepare for retirement. We moved into one of our rental properties. The home could use some renovating. I was thinking we could renovate this home, sell it, buy another home and repeat the process every couple of years. It could be a way to may some extra income and it would be fun to do the remodel. If you are creative and good at decorating this could be a great option for you whether you do it once or again and again as a business.
You will go through many phases in retirement. Whatever activities you choose retirement is meant to be done your way. Enjoy the journey and stay open to new ideas!