If there’s one thing the last few months of lockdown have taught us, it’s how difficult isolation can be for us all.
And for older people the experience can be even more challenging. Age UK reports that the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is forecast to reach two million by 2025/6, compared to around 1.4 million in 2016/17.
This is why it’s good to turn your attention to making and creating new social circles – and what better way than joining a hobby club?
Benefits of joining a hobby club
Whether you have existing interests or have never previously had the time to follow some of your passions, here are some reasons why joining a club can help:
Enriches your social life
We know that loneliness can be harmful to our mental health and wellbeing, and that older people are more at risk. Pursuing a hobby or interest enables you to make new friends and introduce more routine into your life. In fact, participating in enjoyable, meaningful, activities is the biggest direct contributor to wellbeing according to the Age UK Index of Wellbeing in Later Life. Examples of such activities include cultural, creative, civic and social.
Good for your body
Finding reasons to leave the home can be a great way to introduce more physical exercise to your life. Whether you decide to pursue an activity-based hobby like woodworking, bowls or dancing, or a voluntary job like working for a local charity helping others with shopping, you are immediately helping your body.
Good for your mind
Another important factor for wellbeing is mental stimulation. Whether that’s learning a new skill, sharing your experience and knowledge with others, or attending a cultural activity, you will be enriching your mind with fresh information and creativity. Psychologist Ann Futterman Collier says creative pursuits can help us reach a state of mindfulness, a mental state that’s been linked to less anxiety and rumination, and better emotional regulation skills.
Boosts your confidence
One of the benefits of our working lives is the frequency of new challenges we are presented with. That experience can drop away in retirement and it is easy to slip into regular routines. Joining a hobby club will help create new challenges, which in turn boosts your confidence levels.
Joining a club in London
Living in a big city like London needn’t be a lonely experience. One of the benefits of living in such a large metropolis is that there are lots of people all looking for reasons to broaden their social lives, just like you.
Here at The Vale there’s a community right on your doorstep, with communal spaces and a cinema room for your use as soon as you move in. You’ll have plenty of new neighbours ready to connect with you.
South London has a range of hobby and interest groups available, many of which are advertised on the various active Streatham community pages on Facebook.
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities listed on the Borough of Lambeth’s website as well as listings relating to sports and fitness for older people.
What to ask when enquiring about joining a club
So, you’re taking the first step to joining a club – congratulations! – you’ve made a great move.
When you get in touch with your group, here’s a quick checklist of the sorts of questions you might want to ask:
- Timings – how often does the club meet? Is there an annual calendar of activities?
- Costs – are there joining fees/regular subscriptions to pay? How frequently do these need paying? Are there any additional costs?
- Commitment – some clubs have simple rules of engagement, so ask if you can see them.
- Existing members – ask if they offer any free events, so you can sample the activity before signing up. Or ask to be put in touch with a member to find out more.
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