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Embracing a wealth of cultural and creative activities in retirement contributes to greater wellbeing

Across the UK, the creative and cultural sectors at large have continued to re-open at pace since the removal of all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England in July this year. Visitors have been flocking back to theatres, concert halls and cultural venues. Interestingly, it has been well documented in a report by charity, AgeUK, that creative and cultural participation is the top-most contributor to wellbeing in older age.

Retirees with good social networks, health and financial resources are more likely to have high levels of wellbeing. However, the importance of maintaining meaningful engagement with the world around you in later life – whether it be through social, creative or physical activity or belonging to some form of community group – can’t be underestimated; creative and cultural participation is widely considered to be the single factor that contributes most to wellbeing. Creative and cultural activities can be wide-reaching and include all forms of literature whether it be reading for pleasure or being part of a book club. The visual and performing arts are also considered to be an important cultural activity – such as attending a play, visiting a museum, watching a film or even attending a street event or carnival! It can also encompass anything historical – such as visiting a listed building, garden or monument. Music, in all forms, is an obvious cultural activity – whether attending a classical musical performance, an opera or jazz performance or playing a musical instrument. All forms of art and craft such as painting, textile crafts, wood crafts, embroidery and knitting are considered to be a form of cultural and creative participation.

Accessibility to cultural and creative activities is hugely important in older age. It has been shown that retirees with access to transport, and having friends to do things with, increases the likelihood of participation in creative and cultural activity, whatever their level of wellbeing. This is why the team at LifeCare Residences, the award-winning and internationally renowned retirement community operator, places great emphasis on a wide range of cultural and creative activities, both onsite and offsite, for all residents. Moreover, staying socially active and feeling part of a community empowers self-esteem and a sense of self-worth. At all LifeCare Residences’ communities, residents benefit from the services of a lifestyle co-ordinator who organises local excursions, talks from visiting speakers on a variety of topics and onsite activities and functions. The teams at Battersea Place in London, Somerleigh Court in Dorchester and Grove Place in Hampshire are dedicated to helping facilitate a wide array of clubs, activities and classes to get involved in, as well as helping to arrange interesting trips and visits.

Residents at Battersea Place relish the fact that the nation’s capital is a hub for culture and entertainment. Retirees in London have access to a wealth of services and amenities, events and restaurants right on their doorstep. The nation’s capital provides a diverse mix of history and culture, with museums and galleries a plenty, such as the Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, The British Museum and the National Gallery to name but a few, with many providing free entry. London also boasts a wealth of historic landmarks, jostling for space among theatres, cinemas, restaurants and bars. At Battersea Place, residents enjoy the the popular Theatre and Opera Supper Clubs, Book Club and the Gentleman’s Discussion Club and live screenings from the Royal Opera House, as well as Friends with Shakespeare workshops. The latest screenings included Monteverdi’s ‘L’incoronazione di Poppea’ and Jean Racine’s dramatisation of of ‘Phédre’. In addition, the team at Battersea Place hosts Musical Dinners, Murder Mystery Nights as well as residents’ talks and lectures from visiting film and art historians. It doesn’t end there – residents can join a Bridge Club as well as turning their hand to scrabble, or even an art class. Lately, residents have been treated to a jazz concert in the lounge, preceded by cakes and coffee. The most recent excursions organised by the Battersea Place team have been to the ‘Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace’, ‘Noel Coward: Art and Style’ and ‘Turner’s Modern World’ exhibitions. Residents have enjoyed trips to Savill Gardens, Buckingham Palace Gardens and RHS Wisley. A Bit of TLC, a local events partner, has also provided cultural diversions. Recently Battersea Place residents attended a matinée of ‘Copenhagen’ at the Rose Theatre in Kingston and visited Sadler’s Wells to see the wonderful ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. A Bit of TLC also secured excellent seats for the much lauded ‘Anything Goes’ at the Barbican starring Robert Lindsay and Sutton Foster. This month will see several visits to Cadogan Hall for a series of concerts and the Gielgud Theatre for the third part of the Wolf Hall trilogy, ‘The Mirror and The Light’.

Resident, Kathleen Rawes, adds, “The central London location of Battersea Place is ideal for getting out-and-about – from indulging in a spot of shopping on Marylebone High Street, to scouring the shelves at Chelsea Library for the next page-turner to lose myself in – my new home is perfectly positioned to offer access to everywhere I need to be.”

Residents at award-winning retirement community Somerleigh Court, set in the heart of the historic town of Dorchester, are able to enjoy an independent lifestyle and take advantage everything that the vibrant town has to offer as it is positioned right on the doorstep of charming Borough Gardens, a beautiful 19th century park laid out to the design of William Goldring – who was the brain behind Kew Gardens. During the summer months the bandstand in the gardens plays host to numerous concerts. Residents at Somerleigh Court are able to keep themselves busy in Dorchester with its deeply interesting history that dates back before pre-Roman Britain – it’s a great place for walking and exploring the many historical sites and amazing views. Within the town itself, there are close to 300 structures that are listed by Historic England for their historic or architectural interest. Often described as the ‘Small Town with a Big Story’, Dorchester offers town walks and several types of tours to explore its rich past. In addition to the wealth of cultural activities to enjoy in the town, a lifestyle coordinator is on hand at Somerleigh Court to create a revolving calendar of events, talks and excursions for residents such as a recent afternoon quiz, a ‘Beatles’ sing-along and a piano and violin recital. The staff are on hand to help create memory books and they also run baking classes. An incredibly popular activity is a painting and drawing workshop, led by some of the more artistic residents.

At Grove Place, in Hampshire, residents can enjoy a wide-ranging plethora of activities set up by the team. Weekly activities on offer include a Gardening Club, Craft Club, an art class, a Creative Group, Bridge and a Choir as well as informal talks by local or resident experts on wide-ranging subjects. On a monthly and on an ad hoc basis, there is a Gentlemen’s Club, and the opportunity to go ten pin bowling. Cultural excursions to the Solent Sky Museum and the Southampton International Boat Show have proved popular. Peggy Bigglestone, who retired to Grove Place in Hampshire five years ago concludes, “I feel utterly spoilt here. There is a range of activities you can try out; I am part of the choir and a ukulele club, and I go out on lots of day trips; some of my friends use the pool or the gym. There is always something interesting happening that you are welcome to join in with.”

If you would like to learn more about our offering and how we can enhance the ‘every day’ please call T. 0800 009 6950.
For those who are unable to visit in person, we are also able to offer virtual tours of our communities at your convenience.