Retirement is a happy place says study


In retirement people prefer swimming to walking says studyIt would seem retired people are actually enjoying life more, and that includes getting greater satisfaction out of stuff they were already doing before retirement.

Although work is viewed negatively, the researchers think it might be the context of work that’s the cause rather than the work itself. Many retirees continue to work part-time, but possibly all those pressures that go with work – like less sleep, lack of autonomy and time constraints – are contributing to a less positive view.

When it comes to physical activity, there is currently a trend to promote walking and active chores around the house as good forms of exercise. However, the study found that neither of these rate very highly with retirees. Running, cycling, swimming and surfing, and even playing with animals promoted greater feelings of well-being.

The study, “Everybody’s working for the weekend: changes in enjoyment of everyday activities across the retirement threshold” was carried out amongst Australian retirees.


Where are the wealthy retirees?

Wealthy pensioners are choosing cathedral towns like Gloucester for their retirements

In a growing and ageing population, the number of over 65s in the UK is increasing. And within that group the divide between the rich and the poor in retirement is widening, according to recent research from Experian.

That means experiences of retirement are pretty diverse.

For the more fortunate, good health and an active lifestyle beckon. With high disposable incomes the affluent retirees are tech-savvy consumers who are demanding in what they want and the quality they require.

With the north/south divide still very much in evidence, the place to find many affluent pensioners in the South East, although many are relocating to other areas to enjoy their retirements. That no longer means heading for the coast. Increasingly older people are choosing historic cathedral cities and market towns to spend their active retirements.

It’s a move that businesses and local policy-makers would be unwise to ignore. Experian estimates there are now about 1.3 million of these so-called “Smarties” who are shaping the areas where they settle around key issues such as local facilities and shopping experiences.

Older people and the natural world

How people experience the natural world changes as they age. Sensory perceptions, such as sight and smell, can alter over time. So how important is getting outside into nature for older people – including those living with dementia – and how can we deliver better experiences?

According to a review of available research amongst the over 60s, being outdoors and experiencing nature, plants and wildlife offers real physical, social and mental benefits for older people. How much they can benefit, however, depends on how they are limited by their own capabilities. And the research suggests that these limits are hindering people from spending as much time outside as they would like.

Studies suggest that being outdoors, in gardens or landscapes, is of great therapeutic value. The UK government itself has asserted that everyone should have fair access to a good quality natural environment. That access can play a key role in a further government priority of enabling people to live well with dementia.

The research suggests that beautiful views from a window enable many to connect with the natural world regardless of mobility. For those able to travel, access to a car opened up opportunities to get outside in different landscapes. Even in cities, being able to track the changing face of nature through community areas or even watching the detail of trees through the seasons brings pleasure.

In sensory terms, feeling the wind, hearing birdsong and taking in countryside or seaside fresh air and associated scents helped people to connect with nature, enjoy a sense of peace and tranquility, and raise the feeling of well-being.

For those who live in residential settings the ability to get outside in some way is important. As well as contributing to a sense of well-being, it helps people to feel less trapped in their surroundings.

And for older people still living at home, the garden or the allotment can still hold great attraction, although changing needs may mean a re-think of how the space works safely and can be maintained easily.

Those who can access transport or join community groups can benefit from tours across landscapes or visits to gardens and historic homes. Older people are core to memberships of organisations such as the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society, and while they continue to work to attract young families, it would be nice to think that they recognise the importance of their offerings to their more mature members.