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After Retirement, Then What?

Updated on June 29, 2011

Retirement Fear

Some people fear retirement, others look forward to it. Those who fear it are usually frightened about what to do with all the extra time they will have. Statistics show those looking forward to retirement are likely to join the ranks of those dreading it once they do. You can’t spend all of your time fishing or knitting, can you? But, don’t despair. There are ample, useful activities for the senior seeking something to keep them occupied.

Active seniors have many opportunities available to share their accumulated valuable skills and wisdom. There are volunteer positions as well as paid ones if you know where to look. Here are a few for senior citizens seeking unique, interesting volunteer opportunities.

The Peace Corps Looks for Volunteers of all ages, but are actively searching for seniors aged 50 and up. There are “Volunteer Vacations” to help improve hiking trails and other community projects. The Peace Corps slogan is “Life is calling. How far will you go?”

Volunteers In 74 Countries

They have volunteers serving in 74 countries around the world for those that enjoy travel. Some of the activities include teaching English, disease awareness, working on conservation projects, and much more.

Not your cup of tea? Then maybe the American Hiking Society (AHS) has something to interest you. They also offer Volunteer Vacations, where volunteers aged 18-80 visit scenic outdoor locations to build or repair hiking trails and cabins. It’s a great opportunity for those who love to hike to meet new people and explore the great outdoors. According to the AHS, "Volunteer Vacations are more fun than work!" However, there are charges associated with these trips. See the AHS website for more information and to download Volunteer Vacations schedules and locations.

The Best Years Ever

The senior years can be the best ever had because there are many options available. Most communities have a senior services center that offer basic needs assistance like transportation or filing income tax forms. And usually there will be scheduled activities for adults 50s and up. These events might be monthly dances, breakfast groups, day trips or even oversea journeys. Some senior programs are so popular they are national or international.

Do you need a job that pays? Some seniors really miss working, even those who previously couldn’t wait to retire. AARP has a program called Senior Community Service Employment program (SCSEP) for those 55 and up. However, these are not permanent positions, but rather training opportunities designed to help find full time employment. And companies are finding seniors usually make the best part-time employees. It’s never too late to learn a new skill.

But, what can be done for weak and frail seniors who aren’t physically capable of engaging in such active pursuits? Here are a few tips.

Many people wish they had done or learned something earlier. Like playing the piano, woodworking, quilting or learning a second language. Some seniors don’t know much about recent electronic technology, so a digital camera or other gadget could be quite interesting to them. Pictures can be made into a slide show or printed and put into an album. The new hobby could inspire some stimulating conversation.

Exercise for these seniors can’t be overly stressed. It’s necessary for their physical and mental health. Friends and family can encourage physical activities and hobbies. See what types of exercise they can do. If walks are endurable, take a stroll.

However, mentally frail persons may not be able to participate in even these activities. Simple toys can be a good option for keeping seniors active.  Games like scrabble, cribbage, or card games use a variety of skills and help stimulate the mind.

For home bound or institutionalized seniors children and animals can be a delightful sight. Many miss their pets. Bring a puppy, kitten or safe animal in an appropriate container. Be careful of scratches or bites as elders often have fragile skin. Studies have proven visits like these often dispel loneliness.


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    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 7 years ago from Cave Creek

      Years ago the word retirement seemed to imply a vegatative state - stop working and rest. Most senior adults, boomers or younger, want to live an active adult lifestyle. Good article on some of the many options for active adults.

    • profile image

      retirement planning 7 years ago

      Worrying about your finances or daily needs is the last thing you want to have on your mind during your retirement years. Carefully estimate the amount you would need to meet all your needs during retirement and use our calculator to estimate the corpus you would need to help you get there.

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Well, Bayou

      You are fortunate indeed to have all of that to do. Just goes to show you if you have the drive and energy you don't have to sit and gather dust in retirement.

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      I retired in august , and I am still just plain estatic/giddy over it. Funny thing is, i am still pressed for time!lol! I am writing on several sites, participating on hubpages and info barrel community, visiting my mom every day, cleanimg the house, taking care of the dog, the yard, and shopping for food and going to church 3 times a week, plus I am the church librarian........ How did I ever find time to teach school,grade papers, and spend ten hours weekly on lesson plans? Lol!

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thanks Pam,

      I thought it a good subject to write something on.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      JY, I agree it is important to keep your body and mind is shape and some outside activity helps that process. Many fitness centers have senior programs. Our church does a huge outreach to seniors across the city where they go do volunteer work once or twice a month from 10-2 PM and they give them lunch. Volunteers at hospitals are also very important. These are in additions to all your great suggestions. Rated up.