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Lifestyle Redesign for Successful and Fruitful Ageing

As human beings, we find identity of ourselves through participation in work and leisure activities. Older persons in transition from working life to retirement may have difficulties in adjusting to the loss of a work role and having a lot of extra time. The feeling of being left out and useless is not uncommon for a retired elder. Staying active is one of the keys to successful ageing after retirement.

To achieve active engagement in life, retired elderly can restructure their time and consider the following:

1. Leisure participation

Leisure participation provides opportunities to meet people, to maintain physical and mental health and to improve quality of life. The followings are some examples of leisure activities suitable for the elderly.

  • Recreational activities------listening to music, attending cultural events
  • Social activities------group dancing, group tours, meeting friends
  • Productive activities------ gardening, keeping pets, handicraft
  • Cognitive activities------ playing chess, reading, calligraphy, playing musical instrument

Leisure participation benefits psychosocial well being and is essential for people of all ages. Retirees often perceive leisure activities as skill demanding, expensive and therefore not suitable for their age. On the contrary, it is never too late to start developing hobbies and interests. To enjoy leisure activities:

  • Invite a friend to join you
  • Don't be afraid of trying something new. Exploring can be fun.
  • Take one step at a time
  • Look for senior discounts

2. Lifelong learning

After retirement, elderly can use their time to learn new knowledge or skills that are useful and satisfying. For example, attending health education activities to learn about ways to stay healthy or learn Tai Chi to improve health.

Despite growing old, elderly can still enjoy the fun of learning. So don't underestimate yourself or give up! Choose a topic that interests you and start slowly. Match your abilities and soon you will find a new world of wonders in learning!

3. Volunteering

In Chinese culture, the definition of work is often related to a paid job. Actually it also provides meaning in life and is often a demonstration of competence. Through work, we contribute to our family and society. We also learn, gain experiences and make new friends. Therefore, many retirees find it difficult to adjust to retirement when all these are lost.

For better adjustment, retirees can move beyond the narrow meaning of work. Apart from paid work with salary, retirees can participate in many forms of work, e.g. as a volunteer to help the underprivileged; serving on a part-time basis or as consultant to share valuable experience; or spending time on hobbies, art or academic pursuits. These help also to maintain the social networks and provide much satisfaction in life.

In conclusion, active engagement in various activities will benefit both physical and psychosocial health. Therefore, be proactive, reach out and enjoy life to the full!