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Things over 50s should try in 2015

22nd January 2015

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

2015 presents the perfect opportunity to try something new, and this is certainly no exception for the older generation, including those who rely on home adaptations such as stairlifts for the elderly. Maybe you’ve decided that your New Year’s resolution is to take up a new hobby, or perhaps you would like to dedicate your time to helping others. Whichever goal you decide to set yourself, our list of things over 50s should try during the next twelve months will hopefully inspire you.

Support the Dogs Trust

If you are an animal lover and find that you have some spare time on your hands in 2015, why not consider volunteering to help the thousands of dogs in need of a home? From offering hands-on help at the rehoming centres to registering and taking a dog for a walk, there are numerous ways in which you can support Dogs Trust.

Alternatively, if you’re a dab hand at textiles, you may like to produce blankets that can keep the dogs warm during the winter, hold a fundraising event, or even decide that you’re ready for the commitment of adopting a four-legged friend permanently. As Dogs Trust highlights below, spending time at a rehoming centre not only helps the dogs in need, but can also provide you with many health benefits too, as well as beating loneliness.

“Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has created The Dog Prescription to highlight the many ways dogs improve human health, both mentally and physically.

“Walking is a simple and effective way to stay healthy and dog ownership helps to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Research reveals that dog owning adults and children are more physically active and healthier than non-dog owners. In fact, those with a hound at their heel are five times more active! Dogs can also help to lower blood pressure and significantly improve the symptoms of depression.

“We couldn’t do as much as we do for dogs without volunteers – they really are crucial to our work. So, if you have spare time on your hands and would be able to commit to volunteering on a fairly regular basis, we’d love to hear from you.”

-          Dogs Trust

Join the Women’s Institute

The Women’s Institute has been bringing women together since 1915, so what better occasion to join the WI than in its centenary year? Those joining can become part of a tight-knit community, taking advantage of opportunities to get involved with activities ranging from crafts and cooking to campaigns and fundraising, all while making friends along the way.

“Since the very first meeting in 1915, the WI has always been about inspiring women. With over 212,000 members, it is a naturally diverse organisation and offers all kinds of opportunities to all kinds of women; for some it’s the opportunity to catch up with friends, whilst for others it’s a route to learning new skills, or to campaign on something that’s important to them. The WI really is whatever you want it to be.”

-          The Women’s Institute

Learn something new

Many of us toy with the idea of learning something new, but this often tends to be a novelty which soon gets forgotten about. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, as there are numerous courses available that will not only assist you to gain an extra skill, but will also be enjoyable along the way. Hot Courses is the largest course directory in the UK, and offers a wide variety of subjects that can make you more knowledgeable and help add to your list of talents.

In order to prove this, Hot Courses provided their top 10 searched for courses by those aged over 55, and it could be that one of these motivates you to want to learn too.

1. Cookery

2. Photography

3. Pottery

4. Spanish

5. Cake Decorating

6. Watercolour Painting

7. Art

8. French

9. Italian

10. Sewing

“Taking a course is actually about much more than simply learning something new. It’s a boost to the self-esteem and makes people feel like they’re doing something more constructive with their spare time than sitting around watching television. It’s a great way to socialise and meet different people from all walks of life too. People of all ages should take fun courses part time for these reasons.

“I think there’s a misconception as well about education and learning being classroom based, involving pens and paper and homework. Most evening courses couldn’t be further from this – the likes of floristry, stained glass making and yoga for example. And there are plenty of unusual options out there too, from beer tasting to spray tan classes! There really is something for everyone.

“For the over 50s part time courses can not only be life changing in terms of self-esteem and having fun, but they can actually be a way of training for a second career before retirement. For example, my dad (age 52) currently works as a police officer but he’s taking part time electrician training so that in five years when he retires he can do a bit of self-employed work on the side.”

-          Jade O'Donoghue, Hot Courses

Start knitting

 

This increasingly popular pastime couldn’t be easier to get involved with, as the UK Hand Knitting Association provides all the information you could possibly need online. Whether it’s a new hobby that you would like to give a go, or is an existing talent that you would like to put to good use, you’ll find a whole community willing to help at the click of a button. You’ll find recommendations for craft shops, listings for local knitting events and much much more.

“We try to include something for everyone on the website, so that as many people as possible will be inspired to take up their needles, whether they are new to knitting or experienced or just lapsed. One of our most popular pages is Knitting for Charity where visitors to the website can be inspired to help many and varied charities all raising money though knitting.

“We also have a page about Community Projects where it's all about taking part. If you want to take up knitting to meet people then our Knitting Groups directory holds details of a record 640 groups over the whole of the UK. If you're looking for other reasons to take up knitting our 'Knitting as Therapy' is another well visited page which we know has helped many people by providing evidence of how knitting can help us through troubled as well as happy times.”

-          UK Hand Knitting Association

Take a holiday or day trip

Reasons for going on holiday can vary from person to person, but there’s no denying that a trip away can provide a well-deserved break. From exploring locations close to home to travelling further afield, with so many package options available, booking a holiday or signing up to an organised day trip can enable you to experience the world around you like never before.

As a resolution for 2015, why not make a conscious decision to explore a destination you’ve never been before, or simply head on a coach trip to make friends with likeminded people. Whichever you choose, Silver Travel Advisor can help you find the right option for you, to ensure this year’s trip is one to remember.

“Age UK’s ethos is all about loving later life, and taking a holiday is very much a part of this. But it doesn’t need to be a holiday – a simple day out is a great way to lift the spirits and add variety to life. Silver Travel Advisor is dedicated to high quality travel information and advice for older travellers, and our website is packed with interesting articles and independent reviews by members, as well as a free advisory service.”

-          Silver Travel Advisor

Try bowling

Many people make resolutions to become more active in the New Year, and bowling is an option that will not only have you playing games, but will also help you meet many new companions. The social sport will allow those taking part not only to interact with those on the team, but also meet people from different locations on opposing teams. Richmond Park Bowls Club in Bournemouth is just one of the many fantastic clubs throughout the country, and here they tell you why you should get involved.

“Depending on your preference, bowling can be competitive or you can opt to just enjoy friendly games with your friends. It is suitable for male and females of any age and experience is not essential as Richmond Park Club will offer instruction for beginners. Bowling offers companionship and friendship for lonely people and there are social events outside of bowling which are organised by the club, such as social evenings, cards, darts and short mat. Bowling is not expensive and the club will offer good advice before you buy equipment.”

-          Richmond Park Bowls Club

Image Credit: Chris Penny (Flickr.com), Dogs Trust, WI - B. Langdon, Hot Course, UK Hand Knitting Association, Silver Travel Advisor, Richmond Park Bowls Club

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.