We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Making the very best of older peoples' skills

December 5, 2018 10:14 PM
By Merilyn Canet

Merilyn version 2

Sevenoaks has gone a long way to do this. Our town runs on the skills of retired people! Many give time and abilities to voluntary organisations, to neighbours, in support to their families, serve on local councils, in schools and in churches.

We are changing the narrative on retirement and the image of older people. Abolition of a compulsory retirement age helped move things along ten years ago. Many more people now work beyond their 60's. But volunteering has been crucial to Sevenoaks life for much longer. It has improved quality of life for both volunteers and those they serve.

Loneliness and social isolation can be a huge problem for many people post retirement. Getting involved in community activity can help not only others but also themselves. Skills shared can benefit organisations such as sports clubs, perhaps by acting as umpires, coaches and making the tea, or playing in a seniors team such as walking football or rugby.

Some people, in this area of high housing costs, need the income from continuing in paid jobs. Low unemployment means they can do so, provided attitudes towards older employees, and to the roles that they can fulfil, change. Chances to work can be boosted by retraining opportunities and developing skills. That's partly what the Liberal Democrat committment to lifelong learning and mature apprenticeships is about.

Retired people have organised to their apply skills to good effect. U3A is where retired or semi-retired people share knowledge, skills and social interaction, staying healthier and happier at minimum cost. And Sevenoaks Seniors Action Forum gets older voices - and the experience they carry - heard.

Just make sure everyone listens