Making the most of retirement

One in 6 people in Kirklees are over 65 years and many more have retired before this age. The Covid-19 pandemic affected retirement plans in different ways. Some people had to delay retirement, others had to bring forward retirement.

Kirklees is committed to the World Health Organisation’s Age Friendly Communities framework that supports healthy aging. Social participation and civic participation and employment are key areas promoted as part of this.

What’s an Age-friendly Community? | Centre for Ageing Better (

Retirement can be a happy time and a chance to do more things for yourself,  but for some people it can be an unpredictable time. Not everything goes to plan and some people find it more challenging to adjust, keep motivated, active and socially connected.

Karol’s story

Karol came to Community Plus following early retirement just before the pandemic. Karol was looking for a purpose, ‘a reason to get out of bed every morning’. He felt stuck in a rut, had lost confidence and was feeling lonely.

Community Plus encouraged Karol to attend a weekly men’s group to build his connections and confidence. They supported him to look into volunteering and also helped him to find activities to keep him more physically active.

Karol started volunteering at a local social gardening group but later started volunteering at a local library. He was later supported to successfully apply for a paid role in the library.  This helped him to feel happier and more fulfilled in his retirement.

Participating in activities in the community is important for health and wellbeing and a sense of belonging. It can help people to develop good social connections.  Good quality volunteering has a positive impact on mental health. In Karol’s case Community Plus gave him “..that next push into doing something more useful and worthwhile..”

There are so many opportunities in retirement for people to keep active and to continue to share their talents and skills. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start but stories like Karol’s demonstrate that its possible to get out of  a rut and change direction, leading to a more fulfilling retirement.