Social isolation can be a challenge for all age groups, but it can become especially difficult as we get older. It may not be as easy to keep in touch with friends or maintain our social circle as we enter retirement or our friends and family move away. It can also be a challenge to travel long distances or find social activities available for older adults. So, what can you do to prevent social isolation as you get older? Here are a few ideas.
Reach Out to Friends and Loved Ones
Family is an important part of our lives as we get older, and scheduling visits with family members is a great way to avoid social isolation and ensure you have something to look forward to. If you are looking to make new friendships, be friendly! Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with people in your neighborhood to find out if they are interested in socializing.
Look Into Social Activities in Your Community
There are plenty of activities and classes for older adults that can you participate in to connect with like-minded individuals and peers. Consider trying something new to meet new friends, including:
- Exercise Classes will help you maintain physical health while providing an outlet for socialization.
- Creative Workshops like art classes, how-to workshops, or historic lectures will help exercise the mind by learning something new.
- Volunteering is a great way to get involved and meet new people. Find a cause that means something to you and donate your time. Who knows what social bonds will come out of these experiences?
Tap Into Tech
Technology may seem foreign to some, but those that try it out will find it to be very user-friendly. Social media can be a great way to get connected to the people in your community or reconnect with past classmates, co-workers, or childhood friends. Or you can use video conferencing to chat with friends and family who live further away.
Get a Companion Pet
Pets make great companions! Pet therapy has been shown to lower stress levels and boost serotonin levels, fight depression, and lower blood pressure. If you are interested in getting a pet, make sure to consider the commitment, expenses, and care it will require before deciding to adopt. Calm and low maintenance pets are ideal for those individuals who don’t have an active lifestyle or are not fully mobile. If you are not looking to take on the responsibility of having a pet at home, consider volunteering at a pet shelter instead.
Consider Living in a Senior Community
Many people are reluctant to make the move into a senior living community, but these facilities can be beneficial for those looking for daily social activities, and a support network of friends and staff that can help improve your mental and physical well-being. If you are not planning to move into a senior living community, a caregiver may be a beneficial alternative to providing physical care and companionship, even on a part-time basis.
Here are more ways you can meet new friends, connect with your community, and stay social:
- Join your local Senior Center
- Attend events in your area
- Read all our articles about aging well and ongoing learning