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NEW YEAR, NEW YOU: FRESH STARTS

Happy 2016! As we all vow to do a whole host of things most of us will not follow through on, we’ve compiled 10 suggestions that we think you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

1. FIND LOVE
There’s no age limit on love, and today with the help of the Internet it’s easier than ever for over 55s to start dating again. Whether you’re looking for a serious relationship or social opportunities, there are plenty of ways to connect with people online in your age group that share your interests. Try www.silversurfersdating.com (£10 per month).

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2. COME DINE WITH ME
You don’t have to be as whacky and wild as those on the TV programme to host amazing meals. Good home cooking is a pleasure to share, no matter how simple. Why not get a monthly meal booked with a group of friends and tour each other’s homes enjoying food – you could even have a secret score system or just enjoy good company.

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3. LEARN SOMETHING NEW
What better way to kick start a new year by learning something new. Age UK Islington run classes in everything from sugar craft to photography. All the Get Togethers are free or require a small donation. Read the listings on pages 16 to 19 or check out the online magazine to learn more.

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4. BOOK A HOLIDAY
Putting a date in your diary for a holiday lifts your spirits. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune with some basic planning. Airbnb has a very straightforward website linking you to people’s rooms or whole properties to rent per night. It now covers 150 countries including the UK and last summer a staggering 17 million people booked somewhere to stay during the summer using the service. And this way you get to tailor the trip specifically to your needs. www.airbnb.co.uk

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5. FOSTER A PET
If you’re an animal person, you’ll understand the challenges of looking after a pet. The RSPCA receives more than 100 calls a week from families looking for help. If you’d like to have animals around, without the long term commitment, consider becoming a PetRetreat fosterer, looking after animals you can accommodate for four to six months. www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/foster

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6. CHARITY CHALLENGE
We’re not suggesting you brush off your running shoes and get ready for the London Marathon (unless you really fancy it). There are however, plenty of other ways you can raise money for local and national charities. Each year Age UK Islington take part in The Big Knit and other campaigns to raise awareness about older people locally. www.ageuk.org.uk/islington/how-you-can-help-us/fundraise

7. MEMORY LANE
Sometimes photos and stories aren’t enough to remind you of your past. If you have happy childhood memories you want to revisit, why not plan a trip to wander the streets of your past. Things change a lot, but there will still be glimpses of your past to explore. Alternatively, use Google maps Street View to wander the streets without leaving your home. www.wikihow.com/use-google-street-view

8. SHARE YOUR SKILLS
Everyone deserves a chance to learn something new and you could be just the person to help them. Whether you’re a keen hobbyist or a professional in a particular area, Age UK Islington need more volunteers to run classes and clubs. Many people already run classes and find it incredibly fulfilling. Why not become a Get Together host and share some skills in a relaxed and welcoming environment. www.ageuk.org.uk/islington/volunteering/volunteering-opportunities

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9. DETOX
After the festive season we all think about health related changes. Instead of planning a wellness revolution, why not try setting some smaller more achievable goals, like drinking less. Check out the Drink Aware website or contact Age UK Islington for some advice on cutting down. www.drinkaware.co.uk

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10. PUT THINGS IN ORDER
The start of a New Year can be daunting for many. Worries about money and fears about health can linger like a dark cloud. What better time to get things in order and make plans for the future to protect your loved ones. Help on finance and a Will writing service are both offered by Age UK Islington. Call 020 7281 6018 or checkout online for more information.
www.ageuk.org.uk/products/financial-products-and-services/legal-services

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