As people grow older, it becomes more common to be isolated from peers and separated from community. Besides obvious feelings of loneliness, isolation is linked to more dangerous side effects. Individuals lacking social connection are more likely to be depressed, face cognitive decline, and even have higher rates of mortality. To reduce these risks, it is important for seniors to stay active and involved in their communities. Here are some ways to do so.
Meet New People
Retirement can be a difficult time in life to make new friends. Thankfully, technology has brought about new methods. Meetup.com is a networking site designed to help people meet others with similar interests. Groups are divided by hobby, age, gender and location, so it is easy to find a group that fits specific interests. There are many senior meetup groups that plan fun activities together, such as painting, bowling, or a book club.
Community events are another great way to meet people. At fairs, church festivals, concerts and other events, it’s easy to meet like-minded individuals .Do some research into upcoming special occasions and find interesting events in your area. Seniors who surround themselves with people will eventually become more social, even if they don’t make friends right away.
Become a Mentor
Mentoring youth can be one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences for a senior. There are many programs available through schools and nonprofits where seniors are partnered with struggling youth. The benefits of this partnership are high for both parties involved. The younger students get a positive role model, somebody with more life experience that they can talk to and in some cases, academic help.
Seniors can easily stay up-to-date on the latest trends and youth culture, and may dispel some of the myths about young Americans today. Mentoring gives people a sense of purpose. In an established program, seniors have the chance to meet other seniors who are also interested in helping their communities.
Explore Living Situations
Seniors who have trouble being social might just be living in the wrong area or community. Find a senior apartment community or community-centered city. Use a tool like Seniors Guide to search for communities that cater to active seniors. These apartments are often only available to those 55 and older, as they take mobility into consideration (ramps and elevator access) and offer socially active seniors a variety of organized activities and events.
Staying social is an important part of staying healthy. It may be more difficult to get out there, but making the effort will have a positive impact on quality of life. Do some research into ways to get involved locally with the community and find an open door to new friends and increased happiness!