Living a meaningful life in retirement: How can you help those around you?

September 9, 2013

meaningful life in retirement

Retirement is the first time in your life that you have all day everyday to do as you please. How can you leave meaningful life when you retire? You could spend it pottering around your home as many do, but how about really making these years of your life count, and making a difference to the lives of those around you?

Retirement is a great time to expand your social circle as well as appreciate the family and friends you do have, travel, and invest time in your hobbies. As long as you still feel healthy the world is your oyster and with the right attitude this could be the most exciting and enjoyable time of your life, with the opportunity to make changes should you wish to. Retirement is a great time to traveland explore your horizons.

Put your health first

If you don’t take care of yourself during retirement you will limit what you can do and won’t be able to make the most of your time. Your diet is massively important in keeping as healthy as you can, as is staying active.

Avoid diabetes and heart disease with tasty, freshly cooked meals with lots of varied vegetables, and avoid eating a lot of red meat, dairy and wheat products. Avoid sugary foods, but don’t restrict yourself completely. Junk foods and the odd cake are fine as occasional treat; everything in moderation to maintain a healthy diet and take pleasure in your food.

If you haven’t done much exercise in the past getting active during retirement could be an intimidating thought, but if you ease into it gently it needn’t be. Your local leisure centre might offer cheaper rates for OAPs. A good place to start is with swimming, as this doesn’t create a lot of impact on your joints, but is hugely beneficial for your whole body.

Don’t want to stop working completely? How about volunteering in a charity…

Some people actually like going out to work every day, enjoying the social side of this and seeing it as giving purpose to their lives. If these are reasons that you miss work, why not help out a charity and volunteer in their shop a couple of days a week?

This can be a nice opportunity to meet some new people and have a chat, especially if you live alone, as well as giving you the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping out a charity that matters to you. This satisfaction will fill your life with meaning.

If standing around in a shop all day isn’t really your thing, there are plenty of other ways to volunteer in a way that interests you. If you love animals and walking in the countryside you could walk dogs for a rescue shelter for instance.

Help those less fortunate in your community

If you are still healthy and fit you could help out those in your community that aren’t so lucky. Most areas have ‘befriending’ organizations where you can visit those who are elderly and lonely to give them some company. You might just visit them for tea and a chat, or perhaps to help out with a few chores around their home and a weekly food shop.

Helping out with the grandchildren

If you have grand children this is a great time to enjoy their company and help out your tired and stressed children! If both parents work you could consider caring for the children once or twice a week, as the cost of childcare is so high this could really help them out.

Being a grandparent with time on your hands means you can enjoy day trips, crafts or making cakes with your grandchild. You have the free time to have fun together in a way that busy parents often don’t, and create a special bond.

Become active in your community

Still not sure whether you will live meaningful life when retire? Retirement is a good opportunity to get involved in the town or area you live in. You could start a neighbourhood watch scheme, arrange fundraisers or local events, get involved in the local counsel to raise the issues that matter to you, or become a school governor.

If there’s something about your community that you feel needs changing this is your chance to make a difference, rather than merely sitting in your chair complaining about it!

Whatever your passions and interests are there is a way to help out others and make the most of your time in your family and community when you retire. There is no need to feel like retiring means the end of your life; for many this is the time to assess your priorities and really start living.

Image Credit: Sandor Weisz –