“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone
Kindness in another’s trouble
Courage in your own.”
Ye Wearie Wayfarer – Adam Linsay Gordon 1833 – 1870
At some stage in their life most people find themselves questioning their reason for existence, and many will have searched for years for an answer to the mystery of life. By exploring the religions of the world throughout their life some will have found what they were seeking for and can finally take comfort and guidance from their religion. Others discover their inner self along the way, and their faith gives them the courage they need to face life’s many difficulties. Church, Synagogue, Temple, Mosque and religious meeting places of all religions and faiths, are venues not only for spiritual guidance, but also valuable sources of friendship, companionship and support, especially for those people who find themselves alone in the world.
Loneliness and isolation can be a real problem within the 60+ age group. It is a particular difficult time for women when they lose their partners and friends after many years, as it can be for single women also who find themselves retired from the routine and company of years of regular work. Many find they face hours of solitude and are very lonely. Some are nervous to go out of the safety of their familiar environment, and many older women say they feel threatened. Women who have been married or lived with one partner for many years do know how to communicate, and they want to communicate within their own age group, but find a problem. They dislike being on their own, are out of the habit of making new acquaintances, and in many cases have lost their confidence and social skills, and this makes them feel increasing alone. Cosy couples, who still have each other for company after many years of togetherness, don’t appreciate the isolation felt by family, friends or acquaintances who suddenly find themselves alone without their long time partner. That is of course, until it happens to them.
The 50 plus group is fast becoming a group to be reckoned with both socially, economically and socially. As a group we are increasing rapidly. Our group members are healthier, more active and involved in society than previous generations, and we have a disposable income estimated at £155 billion pounds a year. Far from sitting down taking life easy, women (and men) in our group are likely to be on the move. Many are off to seek adventures abroad; others are going back to university to improve their education, whilst others are contemplating setting up a new business venture. It’s time to make an effort. An active participation in life is an important component of successful ageing as is a strong social support network. Studies suggest socialising with people and doing something productive helps create a sense of wellbeing.
It’s a time to maintain connections with the family and close supportive friends who can encourage (or be encouraged) to participate in activities, intellectual pursuits, hobbies, financial planning, eating and drinking all important factors in healthy ageing. Staying mentally active as well as physically active is essential if we are to enjoy the extra special years. It’s an opportunity to develop or embark on new jobs or to enrol in day or evening classes. Who knows, as a result of a continuing interest in life and learning you may discover new and as yet unused gifts and talents!