With the economy stuck in a downward spiral, more and more people are opting to retire early (or they’re being forced to). This could mean that some of your family or friends have suddenly found themselves without a job and on a limited income. While many are happy to leave the drudgery of a nine-to-five behind, they may find themselves at a loss as to how to proceed with their lives. Even those who are prepared for impending retirement often have trouble coping with this major life change, but it can be even more difficult for people who weren’t expecting to retire so soon. However, you can easily help your loved ones by giving them thoughtful retirement gifts that will alleviate boredom and transition them into a new phase in life.
1. Art/craft supplies. Your elderly relatives and friends could find themselves glued to the television night and day with little idea of how else to spend their now-abundant free time. For this reason, you simply can’t go wrong by rekindling an old interest or hobby. So plan a visit to the craft store to see if you can find something they’ll like. Knitting, sewing, and crocheting might be right for some people, while acrylic or watercolor paints will interest others. Then there are beading, scrapbooking, and a whole host of other activities to consider. You can not only help them to occupy their time, but potentially discover talents they never knew they had!
2. Classes. For the avid learners amongst us, a day spent watching soap operas could be akin to mental torment. So why not visit your local community college, continuing adult education center, or community center to find out about inexpensive (or possibly even free) courses that your loved ones might like? There is no end to the classes you can sign them up for (from core subjects to extracurricular activities to exercise), so don’t hesitate to help them expand their minds now that they have the time (and don’t care about the grade).
3. A bicycle. Every retiree should try to remain fit, so why not encourage them to save some money on gas and get a little exercise by riding a bicycle? You don’t even have to go all out and get a new and spiffy model. Craigslist can help you find used bicycles that are in great shape at a fraction of the cost. And this way you can help the seniors in your life to remain active and healthy for years to come.
4. A list of free activities. Look around your area to find free activities that the retirees you know might enjoy, and then jot down a list for them to peruse. You can even go so far as to sign them up for memberships at local museums, the library, the planetarium, or other locales. And you can get in on the fun by joining them for special events.
5. Membership to a senior’s forum. While you might think that your elder relatives or friends would be happier in senior communities, retirement homes, or even Alzheimer’s care homes (this one actually might be necessary for those with the disease), you might not want to push too hard to get them out of their homes if they’re not ready. Instead, get them involved with senior communities online, such as Senior Net, Senior Theme, and Over Fifties, just to name a few. They all offer community chat, and some even have dating options for those who are alone in their retirement.