Senior Living: Filling up free time after retirement

Q. I recently retired. My wife and I went on a trip for a month visiting our kids who live around the country. Then I did some home improvement projects that I had been putting off for years. Then I read three books. What do I do now?

This is a common experience of new retirees. For your entire life, you have gotten up, taken a shower, dressed in work clothes, grabbed your briefcase and headed off to work. Suddenly, every day becomes a weekend. But, there is hope for you. There are a myriad of activities and opportunities to fill your time.

There are many things to see and do right here in Los Angeles. Come to the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA at 2 p.m. March 22 to hear a free presentation by ASTER (Assisting Seniors through Enhanced Resources) on local opportunities. There will also be a presentation by Dr. Dennis Chang on staying healthy while you travel.

The senior centers, the YMCA, the Leisure Club of La Cañada, some of the local churches, all have activities such as bridge, pinochle, mah jongg, bingo, crafts and other pursuits which might suit your interests. These organizations, as well as the local hospitals, have informative lectures. You’ll learn something and you might even make some new friends. You might even meet some old friends you’ve lost touch with.

You can volunteer. Many of the groups I’ve mentioned need volunteers. There are also the schools and the libraries. Stay at home moms are in short supply these days so the schools need help in the classrooms and for after-school tutoring. What a difference you could make in the life of a child.

There are also nursing homes and retirement communities. Many of these people are very lonely. A visitor would be so appreciated.

Are you an animal lover? The animal shelters would love to have you help walk the dogs.

Is gardening your thing? Well, Descanso Gardens is right here in our own back yard.

Whatever your interest, there is a volunteer opportunity for you. Once you’ve been retired for a few years, you’ll have to consult your calendar when someone asks you to go out to lunch.

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, email it to or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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