Galway Advertiser 2002/2002_07_18/GA_18072002_E1_018.pdf 

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Having an active retirement
S O M E P E O P L E blossom when they r e t i r e , they t a k e u p n e w i n t e r e s t s , make new friends a n d enjoy the freedom of b e i n g a b l e t o d o w h a t they want when they want. Most are no longer saddled with mortgages and the responsibilities of bringing up a family. Even if their bank balances are not healthy, they are time rich, a valuable asset today. Each day brings new promise and adventure for them and all they regret is not hav ing retired earlier. However, others mourn the end of their working careers, seeing retire ment as a stressful turning point in their lives. They believe they have lost their identity with their j o b and feel isolated and alone now they are out of the workforce. So, how do some people thrive in retirement while others find it a daily struggle? Is it important to have struc ture and challenges or are you better off taking each day as it comes? Research indicates that the circum stances surrounding people's retire ment have a significant impact on their emotional wellbeing. If you retired voluntarily, you will find it much easi er to cope with the transition than someone who was pushed into it. If you are comfortable financially, retirement will be less of a stressor, too. Having to skimp and scrape and worry about p a y i n g bills takes the gloss off being free for the rest of your days. Being healthy is a big asset, also. If you are fit and well, you will find it easier to surmount any obstacles that retirement may present Other things which help people adjust t o it i n c l u d e p l a n n i n g in advance, engaging in purposeful activ ity for more than five hours a week, being able to rely on s o m e o n e for emotional support, and receiving pre retirement advice or education. chance to do all the things they never got tiiflt for before. He had worked in insurance and says after 40 years in a particular job, there is a danger that people think their talents lie only in that area. He did a year-long c o m m u n i t y d e v e l o p m e n t course after retiring which gave him a whole new perspective on life, he says. "About six months after I retired, I felt I w a s m i s s i n g s o m e t h i n g . T h e c o u r s e a t U C G filled this g a p . It opened up enormous possibilities in my mind. I'd recommend it to anyone. I discovered that a lot of what I'd done at work I could apply in the communi ty, things like organisational skills. I'm a great believer in the fact that every stage in life is a preparation for the next. Work-related experiences prepare us for retirement. They help us see possibilities and opportunities." He had heard about the active retire ment organisation and w a s keen to find out more. The results of a survey carried out in Knocknacarra gave him an added incentive to do this. "The study analysed the needs of the a r e a a n d r e v e a l e d there w e r e 2 2 0 retired people living there. I hardly knew any. Where were all these people I wondered? They were largely invisi ble." In April 1996, Pope and his wife put a notice in their local church newslet ter seeking people interested in setting up an active retired group. Seventeen people turned up. By the end of May, this number had risen to 40. "We called ourselves the Knocknacarra Active Retirement Association. People came from all over the city. Then, branches were set up in Renmore, Westside, Salthill, etc. There are 1,000 members in Galway city, ranging in age from 55 to 85. Our emphasis is on remaining active and independent for as long as possible." Its a s s o c i a t i o n with t h e o n l i n e l i f e s t y l e i n f o r m a t i o n s o u r c e for Galway people - has been a very important development in the organisation's success, he says. "It has created a website for us. This

Billy Pope of Clybaun. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy allows each retirement group to dis play their activities, events and notices online." active retirement group. It has opened doors for me. I've made new friends and learned new skills. It has brought out something that had been dormant in me." T h e r e is a great sense of cama raderie, of being " in this together" within the groups, she says. The asso ciation has given many a new lease of life. "Some retired people are very lonely. They feel their role in life has gone when they give up work. They believe they are not anybody anymore and feel lonely and isolated. But retirement need not be like that. We are especially keen to get these people to join our group."

Eithne Carey, who is in her mid six ties, came to live in Renmore 11 years a g o w h e n she re-married. S h e had w o r k e d in office administration in England previously. She always led a busy life but was looking forward to retiring. "I joined the active retirement group in Knocknacarra and Billy Pope said we should start one in Renmore. It's five years old now. Retirement would n't be half as much fun if I hadn't the

Billy Pope from Knocknacarra who is in his late sixties retired 10 years ago but does not see retirement as the final phase of life. It's more a third phase, he says, when people have a


The Active Retirement Movement helps older people have a full, happy and healthy retirement by providing opportunities to take part in a wide range of activities. These include:* * * * * * * * * * * * Spring and autumn holiday breaks Day tours and outings Art music, singing Language classes (Irish & continental) Craftwork, woodwork Gardening, DIY, flower arranging Discussions, lectures, quizzes Bridge, cards, indoor games Short mat bowls, keep fit, yoga Snooker, swimming, table tennis Boules. lawn bowls Socials, dancing

Ehhne Carey of the Galway Active Retirei,

. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy


There are associations in Athernry, Barna. Galway city centre, Gort, Kilkerrin, Knocknacarra, Loughrea, Mervue, Newcastle, Newtownsmith, Renmore, Salthill Tuam, Westside, and Williamstown. If you would like to join your local association, telephone Anne Goodwin at (091) 592780 or e-mail her at


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 Galway Advertiser 2002 / 2002_07_18