10 unexpected benefits of ageing
As we go about our busy lives it’s easy to forget two very important things, one – growing old is a privilege that not everyone gets to experience, and two – age should be no barrier to living your best life.
Ageing is certainly underrated, so let’s look at 10 unexpected benefits that come with getting older:
1. Living the retired life
We've probably all woken up on a Monday morning and groaned at the thought of another working week. As we get older, many of us choose to retire after a long and fulfilling career, meaning we don't have to face the daily grind of work.
Instead of setting an alarm clock, dealing with peak hour traffic and the pressures of work, you have control over your days to spend them exactly how you like.
2. Or...working 'just for fun'
With age can also come a greater appreciation for and enjoyment of work. In our older years we have often already achieved many or all of the goals we were working towards in our career, such as securing permanent employment, pay rises and promotions, and climbing the corporate ladder.
Older people who continue to work are able to focus on the enjoyment employment can bring including feeling a sense of purpose, the company of like-minded people, and honing and developing new skills, away from the pressures and stress of the workplace that may have once been felt.
3. Time to help others
As we grow older we find we have more free time, allowing us to do things we have thought about doing when we were younger but couldn't fit in to our busy calendars.
Volunteering is one such activity, which can not only make a positive difference in the community around us, but can also bring plenty of benefits to our lives as well.
Older people not only have more time to volunteer and give back to the community around us, they also have plenty to offer in terms of advice and skills. You might like to share your time and years of lived experience, guidance and perspective with a local school, not-for-profit organisation, hospital, or aged care centre, all while making new and valuable connections and networks.
Research has shown that donating your time has plenty of benefits for volunteers, including a renewed sense of involvement, belonging and purpose and better perceived mental health and quality of life.
To find out how to volunteer in an area near you go to the Go Volunteer website.
4. Try your hand at something new
The extra free time we find ourselves with in our later years gives us the perfect opportunity to learn new skills and try new hobbies.
Perhaps you've always dreamed of playing the guitar, or becoming fluent in Spanish, or creating the perfect garden conditions to plant roses, or taking up tennis - getting older gives us time to dedicate to a new challenge and learn new things about ourselves along the way.
Taking the time to discover a new passion or two is also great for our brain health as we age, with research demonstrating that older people who learn multiple skills at once improve their cognitive function, while our ability to draw on our accumulated store of knowledge and expertise is enhanced as we age.
5. Pursue a lifelong dream (or two)
We should never be afraid to think big, and we often find with age comes a level of comfort, security and freedom to pursue ideas and dreams that may not have been achievable when we were young because of economic or time restrictions.
With our life expectancy continuing to increase, the older we get the more opportunities we have to pursue our dreams, from writing your first novel to travelling around Australia, and you might just inspire others around you to see what's possible, no matter their age.
6. Better understanding of what's important in life
One of the benefits of ageing is having more experience on our side than younger people, which means we're able to look at the 'big picture' and realise what truly matters in life (and what doesn't).
The older population has a clearer perspective of what our priorities, our needs and wants, and our goals are. This clarity lets us approach life with great focus on the things that are within our control and less stress towards the things that worried us when we were younger. We're also in a valuable position where we can guide those around us to help channel their time and energy into the things that are actually important in life.
7. More time with the people we love
As we get older we have more time on our hands to spend it with the people that matter the most to us. When we don't have the time constraints of work plus extra-curricular activities we may have had to juggle when we were younger, we can plan quality time with family and friends.
You may like to organise a weekly dinner party or set up a monthly tennis game or head off on a family holiday. However you choose to spend the time, your loved ones will appreciate the chance to have quality time with you, and there's plenty of health benefits too including avoiding social isolation and staying active.
8. Sharing your knowledge
Many older people will tell you that one of the perks of ageing is getting to spoil the younger generation, whether it's grandkids, the neighbours, family friends or children met through community activities.
Research into intergenerational relationships demonstrates that older adults who actively engage with the younger demographic are healthier physically, are less likely to suffer from depression and have a higher degree of life satisfaction.
Strong relationships with older adults help children form a better sense of who they are, where they have come from and how they fit into this world.
Time spent with younger people also provides older adults the chance to share a lifetime of accumulated wisdom, from social skills, to stories of the past, to various interests and hobbies, and children are introduced to new activities and ideas that stay with them as they mature. In return, children love to share their knowledge of the world with someone who shows an interest, so you might get the chance to learn a thing or two as well.
9. Make new friends
Maintaining social connections is incredibly important for our wellbeing, no matter our age.
Making new friends in our later years is a great way to cultivate a sense of belonging, avoid negative impacts associated with loneliness and enjoy the health benefits that come with positive relationships including improved chances of longevity and immunity.
To learn more about ways to create and maintain positive relationships in your later years, check out our article on the importance of social connections.
10. Enjoy seniors discounts
As we get older we can look forward to the perk of some great savings thanks to seniors discounts.
There are plenty of ways to save with seniors discounts, including Seniors Cards in your home state, from cheaper tickets for public transport to insurances savings to discounts at a range of shops and venues.
To learn more about your eligibility for a Seniors Card and the discounts available, visit your state or territory Seniors Card website for the ACT, NSW, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.
Need a helping hand at home?
At IRT, we’ve been helping older Australians live their best lives for more than 50 years. We offer retirement villages, aged care centres and home care services in various locations across NSW, ACT and Qld. To learn more about IRT and our services, click below or give our friendly customer service team a call on 134 478.Find out more