Exploring Retirement

"The institutions and instruments which have been created to meet the problem of ageing, are in no position to provide us with a policy for that great majority of retired people who present no problem at all"

Peter Laslett: A Fresh Map of Life.

Exploring Retirement is written by and for retired people, to assist active retirees make the most of their additional years of good health. If you are interested in writing for Exploring Retirement, please contact editor@exploringretirement.co.uk For ideas to write about, have a glance at the July 2014 issue of Exploring Retirement, available by clicking on "Past Issues" in the navigation bar on the left of this page. These are only suggestions, please contact us if you have a different topic you would like to share your thoughts on.

We trust that you will continue to enjoy our monthly publication and please tell your friends about the site.

Welcome to the June 2017 edition of Exploring Retirement! In 2017 we are focussing on different creative activities in retirement, especially those that offer the opportunity to make new friends. If you are engaged in an unusual creative activity, we would love to hear from you.

Writing team

We have three regular contributors on our writing team. Here they are with a brief note explaining their principal areas of interest:

John Copelton, EditorDr John Copelton - well-being in retirementMichael McSorley, contributorMichael McSorley - lively comment on sport and cultureJeannette Lewis, contributorJeannette Lewis - inspiring ideas on retirement living

Creative Activities and Wellbeing

Everyday creative activity may lead to an "upward spiral" of increased well-being and creativity in young adults, according to recent research.

For the study, researchers from the Department of Psychology at New Zealand's University of Otago asked 658 university students to keep a daily diary of their experiences and emotional states over 13 days. After analysing the diaries, the researchers, led by Dr. Tamlin Conner, found a pattern of the participants feeling more enthusiasm and higher flourishing than usual following days when they were more creative.

The most common examples were songwriting; creative writing (poetry, short fiction); knitting and crochet; making new recipes; painting, drawing, and sketching; graphic and digital design; and performing music.

Dr. Conner noted that "There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning," she said. "However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional well-being."

The researchers found that "positive affect" (PA) - which encompasses feelings such as pleasurable engagement, happiness, joy, excitement, and enthusiasm - on a particular day did not predict next-day creative activity.

"Our earlier research found that while positive affect appears to increase creativity during the same day, our latest findings show that there is no cross-day effect," she said. "Rather, it is creative activity on the previous day that predicts well-being the next."

Even when controlling for next-day creative activity, the previous day's creativity significantly predicted energised positive affect and flourishing, she noted. "This finding suggests a particular kind of upward spiral for well-being and creativity - engaging in creative behaviour leads to increases in wellbeing the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day," the researchers said in the study, which was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

"Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning."

Creative Activities and the Performing Arts

Kaleidoscope was established in 2006 and since that time has grown to become one of the most diverse and innovative production companies in the UK, offering a unique mix of theatre, film, television and more. Kaleidoscope's Artistic Director, Kerry Rooney, was awarded an MBE in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours list. The award was made for services to older people and drama in Northern Ireland.

Through their award winning Outreach Department, Kaleidoscope has helped to create opportunities for everyone to enjoy and participate in the arts. In 2013 Kaleidoscope established The Imagine Arts Festival for Older People. It would be easier to tell you what they don't do than what they do. To get some idea of the range of activities provided, take a look at this short video.

Their flagship Acting Up project has helped thousands of older people to fulfil their dreams of performing on stage. Acting Up is s unique performing arts programme for older people. which gives them the opportunity to explore their creativity, learn new skills, make new friends and take on a fresh challenge. The programme is supported by the Big Lottery Fund. To learn more about the Acting Up programme, click on the short video clip below.

The groups may be completely new or formed from within an existing organization or company. The new Acting Up groups get all sorts of support from Kaleidoscope including access to specially commissioned plays for older actors and the opportunity to attend special training courses and workshops with professional actors, writers and directors. The Acting Up groups will also get the chance to perform in a professional theatre as part of the Acting Up Theatre Festival.

Kaleidoscope are keen to hear from groups and individuals across the whole of the UK who are interested in participating in this incredible programme. If you are over the age of sixty and you are interested in getting involved in Acting Up or would like some more information, check out the Kaleidoscope website for more details - www.kaleidoscopeni.com or contact Kaleidoscope on info@kaleidoscopeni.com.


Michael McSorley

Michael makes a case for considering the Irish language as a part of our common heritage in Northern Ireland and not the political football it has become. Click here to read Michael's thoughts on this subject.

Jeanette Lewis

Jeanette poses four questions about life and how we choose to live it for her readers to consider. Simple and profound, read this thoughtful article, click here