Retirement is ripe with options and wide open for new beginnings. Many seniors look forward to having the time to pursue passions and find their purpose in retirement. Whether a senior enjoys helping others and giving back, has a hobby that has gone by the wayside, or wants to enrich their life through learning, the sky is the limit. For those who don’t know where to begin or why, take a look at why having purpose is important and how to go about finding your purpose in retirement.
The importance of living purposefully
When seniors reach retirement they are no longer needed at work, their kids are grown and on their own and they may suddenly feel adrift and without purpose. But finding a new purpose or passion can help fill that void.
According to the National Institute on Aging’s article, “Participating in Activities You Enjoy,” the benefits are notable. “Studies suggest that older adults who participate in what they believe are meaningful activities, like volunteering in their communities, say they feel happier and healthier.” In fact, one study of seniors who volunteered in a local elementary school reported that seniors felt a sense of personal satisfaction and that the experience improved their cognitive and physical health and helped the students do better as well. Other benefits include longer life spans, lower risk of dementia, and an improved ability to cope with loss. So, finding purpose in retirement is more than just something to do, it’s actually good for seniors.
Begin within yourself
A good place to begin finding purpose in retirement is to take a look inward. What activities make you happy? What goals do you want to achieve in retirement? What would you love to learn about? What are you passionate about?
A little introspection will often reveal ideas that can be the start of a new purpose you will enjoy for years to come. And there is no reason to stop at one, make a list of ideas and choose one to start you on your journey. It can be something small or large, something you do alone, or a group project. There are no rules so jump right in! For more incentive, the Psychology Today article, “4 Secrets to Finding Purpose and Community After Retirement,” will inspire you.
Great ideas for finding purpose in retirement
Sometimes it’s helpful to take a look at what’s available before choosing what to pursue when finding purpose in retirement. Here’s a look at a few possibilities.
Lifelong learning is something many seniors consider when finding a purpose in retirement. Taking classes just for the pure joy of gaining new knowledge can be both uplifting and challenging. This can be accomplished at a local community college or university, or online through a variety of sites including the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or through LinkedIn.com or even YouTube.
For those who want to make volunteering their purpose in retirement, there are plenty of options at local charities and organizations around Sonrisa Senior Living who welcome volunteers with open arms. Good options for finding volunteer opportunities close by are through AARP, Volunteer Match, or the local United Way.
Finding purpose in retirement can be as simple as a new hobby, especially if the interest is one that can be shared with others of like mind. For example, at Sonrisa Senior Living, our residents can enjoy diverse arts and crafts classes, as well as yoga and dance, or they can compete on our pickleball or bocce ball courts or in the horseshoe pit. For those who want to get into gardening, we offer raised garden beds, or get in the kitchen and join friends for our regular Chef’s Corner cooking classes.
Another avenue for finding purpose in retirement is through sharing knowledge. Maybe you are a retired engineer who would love to talk about great bridges of the world, or you have experience journaling and can help others get started. Perhaps you spent years as a dietitian and can offer tips for maintaining a healthy diet. This information sharing can be right at home for residents of Sonrisa or may be welcomed at local clubs, groups, or other venues like middle or high schools. You might be surprised how many people are interested in what you have to say! Learn more about why knowledge sharing is important in the Forbes article, “5 Ways To Share Your Professional Expertise And 4 Reasons You Should.”
Finding purpose in retirement can be a wonderful adventure into yourself and your community. At Sonrisa Senior Living, we want each resident to meet and exceed their own expectations and are always ready to assist. Find out how Sonrisa can help make your retirement purposeful by contacting us today.