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How to live a meaningful life in retirement - friends, family, volunteering and more

Many seniors look forward to retirement. Finally, they can quit having to worry about the responsibilities of a 9-to-5 job. Instead of spending hours in a commute, seniors can use that time to spend with family or do other things they enjoy.

The allure of retirement is wide open days with plenty of possibility. Yet that freedom can seem a bit daunting to some approaching or already in retirement. With so much free time, seniors may be asking themselves what do they do with it all?

Rest assured, there are many ways to lead a meaningful life in retirement and find purpose later on in life. For seniors living in a retirement community, finding meaning can be as easy as attending an arts class or any one of the arranged activities offered each day. Seniors living at home have just as much opportunity to lead a meaningful life. The trick is in not only doing the things you have always loved, but trying new, exciting things as well.

Get involved in your community

An easy way to pursue meaning in retirement is to become an active member of your community. Whether that means engaging more with residents, staff and activities in an assisted living community, or simply taking on more of a presence in the local neighborhood.

For instance, ever had an idea you wanted to work on but didn't have the time for because of professional responsibilities? Now's as good a time as ever to become involved in community organization. If you live in a retirement community, there are a number of positions and committees that residents can take advantage of. For instance, seniors who join a party-planning group can derive meaning and personal enrichment from the experience. The same can be said for a senior who joins a city council at home or engages in local public office somehow.

Volunteering is a key way to find meaning in retirement. Giving back to the community, helping disadvantaged populations and even walking shelter dogs are all excellent options to better the self. Retirement communities often organize and publicize volunteering chances.

Spend time with friends and family

Without work obligations in the way, seniors don't have to worry about skipping or missing even the smallest life event. When family lives close by, seniors can enjoy regular dinners with relatives at home and in the retirement community's dining hall.

Seniors with grandchildren benefit greatly, too. They can be there for graduations from preschool or college, orchestra or band recitals, summer soccer games on the weekends or high school competitions on the weeknights and everything in between. Being a parent can be difficult, but being a grandparent is a comparable breeze — both offer untold meaning in life, regardless. Being present throughout the life of a grandchild leaves a big impression.

Having people to talk to outside family is important, too. This is easily done in a retirement community. Making new friends can be hard, but there's always a like-minded soul or welcoming embrace to be found in a retirement community. Keeping up with neighbors and socializing at events with others is a great way to find meaning in old age. Block parties, if living at home, are always a fun time, as well.

Try something new

Sometimes life after work can seem a tad monotonous. It's easy to break that up quickly by taking part in a new activity or hobby. You don't even have to have any previous interest in it to have fun. Residents in a retirement community can just as easily pick up painting as they can knowledge about history or yoga skills. A wide variety of classes are scheduled by communities, and seniors are encouraged to participate in whatever lesson or session catches their fancy. Communities can offer other avenues of personal enrichment, like gardens for budding green thumbs or walking groups to get both exercise and conversation.

While seniors living at home don't always have such access to recreation and learning, there are still ways for them to try new things in retirement. The internet is a tremendous resource, and seniors can find multiple videos and FAQs on learning the piano, for instance. Who can forget local libraries, either, which often host events that seniors can attend and gain from.

However seniors find meaning later in life, it's important that they plan out a retirement that facilitates such a high quality of life. Whether this means moving into a community or finding care at home, seniors and their families should take all the steps necessary to ensure an enjoyable retirement.

Interested in more information about independent living? Contact us today.