Did you know that, over the last few decades, the number of people aged 65 and over living in the UK has grown by more than 50%?
With many people now living well into their 90s (and beyond), there is a growing need for more focus to be placed on physical and mental health and wellbeing as you move into older age.
There are many ways that you can look after, and improve, your mental and physical health, so take a few moments and read through our quick guide to get some ideas and inspiration to boost your wellbeing.
It will come as no surprise to learn that making an effort to maintain your physical health will come with some rewards later in life. There are many ways to improve and maintain your health from exercise and diet to cognitive training.
Regular, pulse-raising exercise can help to reduce your risk of having a stroke or suffering from heart disease. It can also help to train your brain. We have put together a list of 5 easy ways to exercise your brain and they're a great way to start on the path to improving your wellbeing. If you enjoy exercise and want something a little different why not try these 5 unusual ways to keep fit in retirement?
What you put into your body is important. Maintaining a healthy body weight and heating a balanced diet as well as cutting down on your alcohol intake and avoiding smoking can help to improve your health. Eating a Mediterranean-style diet that's rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and pulses, as well as cutting back on the more cholesterol-rich foods such as dairy and red meat can help you to maintain a good level of physical health.
Another thing that will have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing at any stage of life is ensuring you have a full seven to eight hours of sleep every night. A good sleep can help boost those endorphins and help the body to heal.
Did you know that if you're aged between 40 and 74, the NHS offers free health check-ups? It's definitely worth ensuring that you have a regular health check with your GP who will be able to spot the early signs of conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Many pharmacies also offer free annual prescription check-ups, to go over the medications you are taking to see if there are any positive changes that can be made.
Looking beyond retirement
Changes at any stage of life can seem overwhelming and when you reach the age of retirement the prospect can feel daunting as work is a large part of a person's life for a considerable period of time. If you are about to retire, it can help to start engaging in meaningful activities such as volunteering for a local charity to help restore your sense of purpose. Or you could take up a new hobby, such as the ones on this list of 8 of the best hobbies to try this year!
Did you know that learning a new skill (such as a second language, baking or crochet, for example) could also help you to improve your cognitive abilities? If you want to find out more about courses available in your local area your local library will have information. You can also visit online learning portals such as Open Learn with the Open University, which offers free online courses in a wide range of subjects from world history to particle physics.
For something less formal, the University of the Third Age is a network of groups that runs courses, hosts activities such as choirs, Mah Jong and nature walks as well as study groups and talks for older people in a more relaxed setting. There are also many organisations that offer volunteering projects tailored specifically for older volunteers, such as Volunteering Matters, or Projects Abroad, who provide overseas volunteering placements for the over 50s.
Remaining engaged and connected with friends, family and the local community is a fantastic way to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Everyone experiences loneliness at some point in their lives but in later life this feeling can be particularly overwhelming. Did you know that loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? With befriending services on the rise, there are now many opportunities to make new friends in older age and technology is a great tool for keeping in touch with loved ones.
If you’re missing the structure and social opportunities offered by full-time work, have you considered a part-time job or volunteering work? Not sure where to begin? Find inspiration in our guide on volunteering opportunities and our list of 10 part-time job ideas for retirees!
Connecting with others through social activities, like volunteering or taking up a new hobby, can help reduce feelings of isolation, as well as improve overall physical and mental wellbeing. This can be achieved many ways, from regularly visiting friends and family to accessing the resources your council or local charities can offer. Organisations such as the Royal Voluntary Service run a range of different programmes to help you remain connected with others, including lunch clubs and ‘try something new’ activity programmes.
Inspired by International Older People’s Day on the 1st October, the Older People's Festival is a two-week celebration, jam-packed with events and activities aimed at those aged over 50. Activities on offer cover everything from getting to grips with your smart phone to coffee tastings, cookery workshops, personal shopping, cinema screenings, strength training, cabaret nights and much more!
If you want to move somewhere closer to friends or family in retirement, Homewise could have a solution for you.
Did you know, you could secure your perfect home for up to 59% less* than the market value with our Home for Life Plan?
In essence, the Home for Life Plan is a Lifetime Lease. It's exclusively for those aged 60 and older, and provides a simple solution where you can benefit from a boost to your affordability to secure your dream home - and create financial security for your future!
With a one-off payment, you could live in the perfect property and be free from financial burdens. You would be secure for your lifetime in your chosen property and, if you wish to, can also secure a guaranteed inheritance for your loved ones.
Many people we help want to move closer to loved ones or to a better location; it m ay be that they have debts to clear, or are divorcing and their onward moving budget will be limited. So, whatever your moving goals or situation may be, we could help.
Why not try our quick online calculator to see how much your current budget could be boosted by? With an instant estimate, you could use this potential figure to filter your search results and look for prospective properties this Christmas!