Finding the time to fit everything in 

Recently retired couple Mal and Chris, both 65 from Acklam, wrote to us to say how grateful they are for the support and information they get from Ageing Better.

They want to encourage more people to join in and get the pleasure out of it like they have in such a short time. 

Mal said: “You have got 37 odd hours a week from working that are suddenly not there when you retire.  

“It is a big void. That is when the loneliness comes along.” 

Mal retired from being self-employed as a Gardener and Chris retired from working at James Cook University Hospital as a Clerical Officer. 

Mal said: “Before we retired there was not much opportunity to try new things. Now we have time to do things. 

“Life was hectic in so much it was disciplined whilst working. Everything was dictated by work or family life.  

“We have seven Grandchildren, so they do keep us busy. 

“Doing these activities is to take over that void and keep you active.” 

Chris added: “It is something for us.” 

Mal describes Ageing Better as: “An introduction to allow you to do so many things to engage you with others. When you read other people’s stories in the Ageing Better newsletter you think ‘wow, if they have taken the massive step to do something why can’t we’ and it is that first step that is the hard part. 

Here is what Malcolm wanted to tell people: 

“Do not ever be frightened about going along because everybody is welcoming.  

 “That Ageing Better magazine is the catalyst.  

 “We are lucky we have each other, me and Chris, and things going on. We meet others who are on their own and this allows us make them feel comfortable with others and join in.   

 “I say try it and if you do not like it move on and try something else. There is so much choice and venues for you. 

 “We are having fun.”  

Since retiring Mal and Chris have looked through the What’s On and Taster Session programme and got themselves out and about.

Mal said: “I have joined the The Over Fifties Youth Club (TOFY Club) and go to the Sports Village on Tuesday mornings. I have a bit of exercise, a bit of a laugh and a nice cup of coffee with the lads.  

“As a couple we have been able to learn how to play golf with the help of Craig who is a professional golfer at Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Course. He needed to be very understanding as neither of us could play. Dave from Ageing Better was always ready with the comments ‘nice shot’ and ‘well done’ and we can now hit the ball every time.

“We have also started carpet bowls and my wife goes to Swerve table tennis club once a week where she is meeting up with lots of nice friendly people. 

Chris fell last year and hurt her back so needed to do some exercise to keep fit, she said: “It is important you are not together all the time, not having your own identity.   

“I think you should do something for yourself or everything will be taken over by family. We are there for our kids and the grandkids, but we like the balance of doing stuff for ourselves too.” 

Mal added: “It is good that Chris can go do something for herself and so can I.  

“All in all, instead of thinking what shall we do when we retire – we now ask the question how on earth can we fit everything in.”

If you want to know more about our free taster sessions or search for activities in Middlesbrough visit our find activities page here.

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