Whether you’re ready to start planning for death or you’re only just realising that you’re steadily gaining more grey hairs and wrinkles, it’s important to plan for both the dying process and your remaining years. Getting older means facing difficult conversations head on, but it also means more discounts on fun things and the time to enjoy them in. Here’s a look at the ways to successfully make more informed choices about your death and the ways in which you can make the most of the years leading up to it.
Making informed choices and talking about dying
Focusing on conversations around death and dying, this video by Age UK encourages us to make informed choices together about events surrounding death and the wishes of those close to you. By not only talking to those in the same age group as you, but with those much younger or older than you, you can open up the conversation surrounding death as you get older. We’ve written a quick guide to starting a conversation about death to help you get going.
It’s useful to think about the decisions that will need to be made in later years, possibly at a time when you have less mental capacity than you do now. Charities such as Age UK have created online tools to help you plan for decisions around your death whilst you’re still here. This includes My Decisions, where you can record your preferences for what kind of care you’ll receive and when you want it.
If you want to think seriously about the next stage of your life, there are resources such as Think About Your Life which help you reflect on what more you want out of your remaining years.
Keeping up with interests and the quirks of your personality later in life allows you to balance out the perceived morbidity involved with taking control of your death. In Bristol, Bristol Ageing Better is a charity helping to foster a community in older age which encourages creativity and ongoing projects. Planning for a good death also involves keeping plans whilst you’re still here.
While you’re still here
There are many discounts out there for those who are getting on a bit to help you kickstart your older years. These can include reduced educational classes, such as IT beginners courses and language courses, as well as any benefits you’re entitled to. Perhaps you should embrace being statistically nearer death – there might be a free mug in it.
Now you’re nearer death, you can enjoy the charms of public transport at a reduced rate. Free local bus passes are widely available in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Senior Railcard for over 60s
With a railcard, you can get a third off standard or first-class fares on off-peak fares. A card valid for 1 year is usually £30. National Express offers a Senior Coachcard for £10 a year which offers a third off standard journeys.
With Odeon Silver Cinema you can catch a film for £3. You’ll also get tea, coffee and biscuits. These screenings are offered to those 55 and over. Vue Cinema Seniors Club also offers a free cup of tea and a biscuit. Just one.
If you always imagined you’d spend your retirement wearing cheap glasses and discounted body cream while you use your new hacksaw, then these discounts have made it possible.
Boots offer discounts and extra ‘points’ for over 60s. You could get 25% off glasses at Boots Opticians and 15% off hearing aids. Specsavers also offers 25% off glasses and lenses for over-60s and B&Q has an over-60s club where you can get a 10% discount every Wednesday.
Whether you want to brush up on your Franglais, spin a few lines of poetry or learn computer basics, there are many ways to learn cheaply as you get older.
The Open University offers grants for older people and there are free numeracy and literacy courses at LearnDirect. Free computer courses are offered at local libraries, by websites such as Learn My Way and charities like Age UK.
Many visitor attractions and heritage sites offer those over 60 discounted entry and membership. Now’s the time to stroll around Canterbury Cathedral in medieval garb, cheaply. Retirement is coming.
English Heritage offers discounted membership for the over 60s. Historic Scotland and Cadw Wales also have reduced rates for membership.
Thinking about and planning for death doesn’t mean it’s more likely, or that you should wind down your enjoyment of life. Instead, it can mean better relationships with those around you as well as a better approach to your remaining years.