What do you do with yourself now?

What do you do with yourself now? It’s a question that retirees are often asked. And actually it's when the fun really starts, say these McCarthy Stone homeowners

Dancing the night away

Being in the company of like-minded people is the secret of a happy retirement. And it encourages everyone to try new things and get the most out of life.

‘We have a group here, they call us the Golden Girls, as we are always in and out,’ says Mrs Pitt of Algar Court, Wolverhampton. ‘We organise holidays, theatre trips, gigs and weekends away. We go line dancing every week and dancing every Sunday night.’

There is always lots going on at Algar Court, too. ‘There are weekly coffee mornings, and every Friday we have a film night with ice cream. We’ve recently organised a cheese and wine evening for all the homeowners – it’s great to get everyone together.’

Yoga, tennis and cycling 

Staying active is key to maintaining good health, and having more time often encourages people to try new sports. For Elizabeth Foster (Pictured above with her dog Milo), 79, coming back to her home town of Perth after living in Australia has been a great opportunity to reconnect with her roots. 

‘It gives me such a sense of familiarity. I grew up here, so it’s a bonus to be enjoying my retirement back in Perth,’ she says. 

‘I go to Scone Park regularly. North Inch is great for walks with my Yorkshire terrier, Milo, and I’ve even been up Kinnoull Hill three times. I’m always looking for my next adventure. 
‘I want to try yoga and meditation and have a go at tennis and cycling. It’s important to keep active.

Travel and entertaining

We all have our bucket list of countries we’ve dreamed of visiting but never had the time. So it’s no surprise that globe-trotting is so popular with retirees. 

John and Jackie Hayward are certainly living the dream, having recently returned from their sixth trip to the Caribbean, where they went island-hopping with their son, his girlfriend and her parents. 

This year, they have more trips planned – to Australia to see their daughter and granddaughter, and to Switzerland to visit some friends they made while on holiday in South Africa. It’s all made extra stress-free by the fact that they can leave their apartment at Walmsley Place in Bishops Waltham without having to worry about security. 

When they are at home, the Haywards indulge in their other passion of cooking and entertaining. Jackie trained as a chef, and now she loves having the time and the space to rustle up gourmet dinners. ‘We recently hosted a dinner party with eight family members and it was lovely,’ she says. ‘We thought that maybe when we downsized we wouldn’t have the room to entertain guests, but that was not an issue.’ 

The Haywards also enjoy socialising with other homeowners at Walmsley Place. ‘We have made some great friends – it will be lovely to be here in the summer and enjoy activities together.’  

Quiz-night queen

Experience gained in working life can be put to good use in later years, as Mary Kerr has discovered. Having worked all her life as a mobile librarian, she is now retired and living at The Hailes development in East Lothian. ‘Through my love of books, I have a passion for compiling quizzes,’ says Mary, 75. ‘For more than 10 years, I’ve created quizzes to raise funds for the Edinburgh Voluntary Group of Diabetes UK. And now at The Hailes, I’m doing the same to raise funds for our social club. My husband and I organise events and trips – we’ve never been so busy. It’s great.’