Over 60

Meeting New Friends

Life after sixty

Making friends and finding new interests can sometimes seem a little daunting as you get older, especially if you live alone. However, there is no reason why this time of your life should be one of slowing down or hiding away. There are many opportunities available these days to widen your social network and discover new interests.

Part-time or casual working

If you have retired but found yourself missing the structure of a working routine or the camaraderie that goes with it, a part-time job could work for you. Even if you have never formally 'worked' (maybe your life was devoted to raising a family?) there is no reason to think that you can't do so now. There are many employers who would welcome the more mature worker, where reliability and life experience rates highly. The website laterlife.com has lots of useful advice on working and other topics, both for those contemplating retirement and those already retired.

Volunteering

If you have never considered volunteering previously because you were too busy, why not consider it now? There are hundreds of worthy causes that would be delighted to hear from you. What better way to do something both useful and rewarding whilst meeting new and interesting people at the same time? One such organisation is trusselltrust.org who are doing such valuable work with foodbank donations nationwide. Of course this is just one example and there are many others - visit www.do-it.org for more suggestions.

Walking

We all know that walking is a wonderful way to keep fit and active, especially in later life, but it doesn't need to be a solitary experience; organised walking groups can be very sociable and are a great way of meeting new people. Most people will have heard of the Ramblers, a well established organisation that schedules all kinds of walks across the whole of the UK. Their website www.ramblers.org.uk is a great place to start to find out more about their membership schemes and activities.
Walking locally
For local groups, check out your free local newspapers and newsletters as well as the internet. There are numerous groups meeting on a regular basis, offering (often) free guided or non-guided walks for people of all ages and abilities. These will often have a social aspect to them, finishing at a café or pub for example. If regular walking doesn't appeal to you, take a look at 'Nordic Walking' (www.nordicwalking.co.uk); this concept has really taken off in recent years and offers a full body workout, helping to strengthen the upper arms and back as well as the legs.

Meetup.

Meetup is a worldwide organisation, founded in the USA in 2002, set up to facilitate groups of like-minded people to come together for all sorts of activities and common interests. These groups are designed to provide a safe and welcoming environment and are particularly useful for those who might otherwise feel isolated. People join meetup groups for all sorts of reasons, e.g. single, divorced or widowed, new to the area or maybe their children have grown up and they have more time on their hands. If you have a particular interest or passion but no-one to share it with, meetup could be perfect for you. Anyone can join a group, young or old, married or single - there is something for everyone although some groups are tailored to a particular demographic. Check out their website www.meetup.com to see the amazing range of groups and activities available. If you don't see anything of interest, you can set up your own group and take on the role of organiser!

Sports and hobbies

Being over 60 you may find you have time on your hands that you haven't enjoyed before, so why not take up a new hobby or activity? If you've always fancied learning to dance, act in amateur dramatics, play an instrument or sing in a choir, now is your chance. Whilst following your own particular passion you will also get to meet like-minded people and possibly find a new and exciting social life. Similarly, arts and crafts are an enjoyable past-time and can open new avenues both socially and as a potential income stream.

Keeping fit

If keeping fit and physically active is your main priority, enquire at your local leisure centre or health club who may run classes specifically for the older generation at reduced rates. Gym memberships can be expensive but are much more affordable for those who are retired and can therefore attend during normal working hours. Swimming pools often run 'aquafit' classes, designed to be easier on the joints than other workouts and therefore very popular with the over 50s/60s.

College courses

You are never too old to learn new skills or even gain new qualifications. A college course can be both rewarding and fun. The choice of courses is vast from practical/household skills (plumbing, car maintenance etc.) to languages, photography, local history, cake-making and many more topics too numerous to mention. You might want to fill gaps in your education or gain qualifications that weren't available to you when you were younger. These can be done part-time at evening classes working at a pace you are comfortable with. What a great feeling when you graduate and have that certificate on your wall!

Holidays

Being on your own is no barrier to exploring new places. Many holiday companies offer trips and experiences, home and abroad, specifically designed for single travellers. Whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday in the sun or something more energetic you can book safely in the knowledge that your needs will taken care of and you will be travelling with like-minded people. Check out the numerous options available online and take the first step to your next holiday destination and possibly making new life-long friendships.

The choice is yours ....

Hopefully we have given you a taste of the opportunities available to you at this stage of your life and the confidence to grasp them. This is just a sample of the many ways in which you can enhance your social connections and improve your quality of life. We are fortunate to live in an age where anything is possible and opportunities are boundless. So, what will you do?
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