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Royal Voluntary Service blog
Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.

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Making the most of retirement

Retirement has changed beyond recognition in recent years. The good news is that we are generally living longer and healthier lives so we should be able to enjoy a more active retirement; the bad news is that we need more substantial savings to fund retirement.

The Rough Guide to Retirement eBook, the fourth edition in the Rough Guide to Personal Finance series, provides useful and straight-forward guidance to help people prepare and enjoy retirement – whether you’re in your twenties saving into a pension, or approaching retirement and considering your options.

Sponsored by Legal & General, the guide is also filled with valuable tips to help retirees make the most of their retirement. We’ve selected our top three tips to give you a preview of the eBook:

Plan a routine to get used to your new-found freedom

No early morning alarm call and no working late or at weekends – many people relish the fact that retirement gives them time to pursue interests and hobbies. However, many find the move from a structured working day to unfettered free time difficult to manage. The key is to plan an effective routine so be sure to set activities each day.

Share your knowledge

There may be opportunities to share the skills and expertise you’ve gained through your working life. If you have a specific skill or interest, think about approaching an organisation – such as a charity, a museum or a school – as a volunteer. The Royal Voluntary Service is always on the look-out for more volunteers to help support older people in a variety of ways, whether providing company to someone isolated, a lift to the shops to someone housebound, a visit to hospital to a patient that may not have seen anyone for weeks or distributing Meals or Books on Wheels.

Keep your body and brain active

Learn a new skill, join a sports club, or sign up for evening or day classes.

Most local councils run a number of sports clubs and exercise classes for those retired or semi-retired, many at concessionary rates. This is likely to include week¬ly walks, ballroom dancing, bowls, swimming, zumba, tennis and so on.

If you don’t want to join an organised group, taking daily walks or gardening on a regular basis can make a significant difference to overall fitness.

For more information on planning for and enjoying retirement, download the free Rough Guide to Retirement eBook at roughguidefinance.com

This post also appeared on Blog post for Legalandgeneral.com/live

Posted by at 00:00 Friday, 09 October 2015.

Retirement has not been a time for me to slow down!

Pennie and Jack - Royal Voluntary ServiceWhen I was a working full time, I didn’t give much thought to how I would pass the time during my retirement. I have always been a busy person with lots of hobbies and interests so the fact that I would have more time to do these things when I retired seemed like a positive thing to me. Retirement has not been a time for me to slow down, I’m fortunate enough to be in good health, so I’m living my retirement to the full and I’m enjoying lots of new things especially volunteering with the Royal Voluntary Service.

I previously worked in a role providing signposting information to older people and was always frustrated that I could not further this to a ‘hands on’ experience. I could see what needed to be done (popping out for some bread, sorting out a bill, arranging a trip to the opticians etc) but I was unable to do it under the terms of my contract.

I started volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service in 2013 and through my role I met an older gentleman called Jack. His family were convinced that he had lost contact with the world because of his isolation – he spent most of his time alone.

Jack and I now meet up once a week for a few hours and plan our activity for the day. Jack has limited mobility so we need to tailor our activities to his needs. One favourite is a trip to Waitrose where we can park near the lift and he can use a shopping trolley for stability. This trip gives him a feeling of independence, of being able to make his own food choices and also there is social interaction with the supermarket staff.

This summer, we have visited various cafes for coffee and cake in the countryside. If it is wet or Jack is feeling tired we stay in, put the world to rights, play draughts (he has been a great Bridge player in the past but I can’t match that!), look at old photos, plan menus, look at the messages on his tablet, discuss what is happening with his family, sort out any issues with his post etc. Jack has carers in each day but I also keep an eye on any health issues and report to the family who visit on a regular basis but all live too far away to make it a daily event. We have constant contact and they are really positive in their feedback, in particular they say that Jack has become far more ‘engaged’ with life in general rather than presenting an image of someone who had given up on life.

I am lucky because we have formed a bond and our meetings are a pleasure to me. He is an intelligent, articulate man and I enjoy seeing him relating to the world as it is but also being able to share with me things as they used to be.

Spending time with Jack has been one of the most positive and fun ways to spend my retirement.

Pennie, Royal Voluntary Service Volunteer

Posted by Pennie, Royal Voluntary Service Volunteer at 00:00 Thursday, 01 October 2015.

Labels: Older People's day