Study shows retirees ‘busier than ever’ as region celebrates contribution of older people

Picture by Gerard Binks.Picture by Gerard Binks.
Picture by Gerard Binks.
RETIREES are busting stereotypes and putting aside the pipe and slippers to make a “huge difference” to their communities by filling crucial volunteer roles, new research shows.

A study by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) to mark International Older People’s Day, which is celebrated today, shows over a quarter of those over 65 in the North of England say they are busier now when they were working full time.

The charity says their research shows that retirees, far from relaxing at home in their twilight years, are living life to the full.

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Two thirds said their week is always busy, and 25 per cent that they have more enthusiasm to learn new things now they’re retired.

Volunteering - one of the key aims of The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign - is a popular pastime with one in five retired people in the North saying they volunteer.

This trend is reflected in the number of over 60s volunteering for the RVS as over 66 per cent of its volunteers - 22,951 - are over 60 themselves.

The charity’s chief executive David McCullough said: “Many people may believe that retirement is an opportunity to sit back and relax, but on the contrary; thousands of older people are committed to helping as many people as they can, making a huge difference to the lives of others in their communities.

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“We know that keeping busy when you retire is essential and can have a direct impact on people’s wellbeing, from their general quality of life, through to how satisfied they are with their lives and also on reducing symptoms of depression.”

The research, carried out by Professor James Nazroo at the University of Manchester, was released to coincide with International Older People’s Day.

Events will take place across the region, including in Leeds, where the council-backed Neighbourhood Networks have arranged a host of activities including dance, tai chi and sports.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, Leeds Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said the day was a chance to highlight some of the “exceptional and life-changing work” being done every day by older people in the city.

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“Much of their work goes on behind the scenes so it’s important that we recognise the time, effort and care that goes into the many services, groups and organisations that are a genuine lifeline to thousands of local older people,” she said.

Silver Sunday takes place on the Sunday after International Older People’s Day, and includes hundreds of free activities that celebrate the value of older people while specifically working to combat loneliness and isolation.

Events in Yorkshire include an afternoon tea at York Baptist Church, free entry for over 60s at the Dales Countryside Museum, an afternoon of singing with Hoot Creative Arts in Huddersfield and a session sharing memories of growing up in pit villages at the National Coal Mining Museum in Overton.