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Great groups to join for the older person

30th June 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Sometimes older people that are newly retired or those who suffer from mobility problems and need aids such as curved stairlifts for the home find it difficult to come to terms with all the free time they suddenly have on their hands.

Going from a structured busy work day to having to fill time can be a culture shock and if someone is at home alone the lack of interaction with other people can cause loneliness.

However, there are lots of clubs especially for older people all over the UK and other activities older people can get involved in. Here is a guide on some of the groups people can join and activities to try.

Walking clubs

For people that love getting out and enjoying the fresh air there’s nothing better than going out for a walk in the countryside and it’s a great way to explore the local area and a great way to meet people.

There lots of clubs across the country such as the Backpackers Club, which was founded in 1972, and has grown from a handful of enthusiasts to a vibrant club of over 800 members, mainly from the UK but featuring some members from all over the world.

Nick Miles, Backpackers Club Chairman, adds, “Members are attracted from all walks of life with just a common desire to enjoy backpacking in the great outdoors. Many of our members have reached state retirement age. There are a series of weekend meets arranged by and for members across the country throughout the year.”

Another great walking group older people can join is Walking for Health, England’s largest network of health walks with over 400 active schemes to help people lead a more active lifestyle.

Luke Martin from the group, says, “Our 1,800 weekly group walks across England are the perfect thing for anyone with restricted mobility. Starting at just 15 minutes in length, our walks are designed to be accessible to anyone. They are always free and friendly, and led by trained walk leaders. Even better – many walks include a social event, and so are great not only for your health, but also for your social life! Simply pop in your post code on our website to find a walk near you.”

Photography clubs

Photography is a great skill to grasp as it can be learnt not matter the age. There are lots of local schools and community centres that offer photography classes where you can hone old skills and learn new ones.

The Bath Photographic Society is just one example of a photography group that welcomes older members.

The society’s president, says, “Bath Photographic Society is a group of camera enthusiasts whose history goes back to 1888. We meet once a week for most of the year and provide a program of talks, competitions and other events. The Society has a wide range of ages (from both genders) and include active members in their 80's. We meet every Tuesday evening at 7.30 from September to June. Coffee/tea and biscuits are available during a mid-evening break.”

Writing clubs

There are also groups for older people that just love writing, no matter whether they are experienced or published writers or beginners.

Writing clubs are another great way to socialise with like-minded people and to make new friends and if you are looking at joining a writing club but are unsure if there are any groups in the area, the local library will normally have contact details for writing groups in the nearby area and information about when they meet up.

Jonathan Telfer from Writers Online, the biggest and bestselling magazine for all types of writers, explains why writing is great for people of all ages.

He says, “Writing is a great way for people of any age to stimulate their grey matter and get creative, and of course it’s one of those activities that many put off to devote more time to in retirement.

“Writing can take as little or as much of your time as you choose, and it’s up to you how independently you do it too. Although some prefer to “go it alone” and stay at home beavering away, there are thousands and thousands of writing groups in the UK to make it a more social process – ask your local library or visit Writers Online to find one near you – and I’ve never come across one that wasn’t warm and welcoming to new writers!

“There are writing groups for every skill level or interest; some dedicated only to certain groups (e.g. women only, pensioners only, poets only); some will discuss writing and books broadly, some focus on your work in progress, some have a different exercise each session, so you don’t even need to be doing creative writing at home. However you want to stay mentally active, there’s probably a writing group near you to help!”

Swimming clubs

Swimming clubs are not just great for physical health as they are also great for a person’s mental health as well.

Most swimming pools have sessions run exclusively for older people and the majority of swimming pools provide lessons for people that want to learn or improve their swimming.

Swim England Masters, for example, offers swimming to all people over the age of 18. Masters swimming clubs are located across the whole of England and their centres encompass casual fitness swimming to highly competitive swimming.

A lot of older people will want to swim casually and they will need to become a Swim England member - you can do so here.

The website has lots of centres listed and potential members can insert their postcodes to see if there is a centre nearby.

Bingo

Bingo has become a go-to game for many seniors, but it has been revealed that the game has lots of health benefits associated to it.

According to Home Care Assistance bingo enhances hand-eye coordination, boosts cognitive abilities, improves physical health, increases socialisation and can accelerate healing and recuperation.

Hand-eye coordination is improved as a very fast-paced game of bingo requires the players to identify the numbers as they are called out and mark their cards quickly, while cognitive abilities are improved with research unveiling bingo players perform better on tests that measure memory, mental speed and information retention.

Bingo often involves a lot of laughter and this can improve physical health and in turn boost the immune system, diminish pain and stress. It has also been revealed that bingo helps the healing and recuperation process of older people with studies finding elderly people playing the game during the recovery process were more likely to leave hospital faster than those who don’t.

The game also improves socialisation and is a great place for seniors to meet new friends and meet up with old ones, especially if they become regulars. Research has shown that older people who regularly socialise live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t.

Mecca Bingo is bingo royalty and it has clubs all over the UK. To see if there is a club near to you, just visit Mecca Bingo’s A-Z club guide.

Other great activities to try

If none of the aforementioned clubs and activities are appropriate, then there are lots of other activities older people can take part in and below are some ideas.

  • Bridge clubs
  • Bowl clubs
  • Painting clubs
  • Chess clubs
  • Yoga
  • Reading groups
  • Choirs