Throughout the UK there are many charities whose aim is to help make life easier for the elderly. If you’re only just retiring now it’s probably not something you need to give much thought to but in a decade or two’s time, you may find that you don’t have the same support from family or friends that you used to. This is very rarely because you no longer have them or they no longer care, but simply because they have their own lives, families and problems and it may even be a conscious decision by you not to rely on them.
One charity that focuses on filling this gap left by your previous support circle is Age UK (www.ageuk.org.uk). Age UK is a recent merger between the two biggest age-related charities, Age Concern and Help the Aged. Admittedly the names, particularly before the merger, sound quite patronising and you may feel that you don’t need that kind of help but they deal with all aspects of growing older from where to invest your money, information on local retirement homes and communities and even more trivial things such as the best holiday destinations for retired people and help if you are looking to get back into employment in some capacity. They have over 330 local centers around the country and help over 5 million individuals every year, so they are by no means a small charity and pride themselves on being able to support individuals in all areas of their lives.
Another charity specialising in working with the older generation is Independent Age (www.independentage.org). They are a much more active support group for those that need them as opposed to a charity in the traditional sense and encourage the older people they support to contribute to the support community if they would like to. Many of those who are supported by Independent Age then go on to volunteer whether that be supporting others or acting as fundraisers to help the charity increase the scope of it’s works. The charity even has a magazine that is made up of contributions from these volunteers, designed to address issues that other post-retirement adults may come across.
Whilst these are two of the biggest charities in the UK that focus on retired and elderly individuals, there are many more local or regional associations and charities. These are often dependent on what you do for a living (such as www.csp.org.uk/membership/retirement – the retirement association for physiotherapists or www.narpo.org.uk the national association of retired police officers) or where you are located in the country (such as www.surreyretirement.org.uk for retired persons in Surrey). If you are thinking of retiring or have already retired and looking to join one of these associations, even if it is just to meet people in a similar position to yourself, the quickest way is to simply search on the internet for retirement associations in your region. Alternatively you can visit your local Age UK office and they can point you in the right direction.