When you were younger you followed tips on how to prepare for a luxurious retirement, and now you finally retired. Time passes, but it turns out that you miss interacting with your coworkers and in general, people. You might even be experiencing some form of loneliness. However, you are not alone! According to a publication from BMC Public Health, 50% of people 60 years of age and older are at risk of social isolation, and one-third of all people will experience some level of loneliness in their later stages of life. These suggestions for activities to help seniors are a start.
By nature, humans are very social beings. We like seeing, talking, and interacting with other people. Most of the time, seniors want to get out and meet others, but just don’t know where to look to find deep and meaningful social interactions that increase their quality of life. Luckily, this article is a great place to start.
Senior Isolation Risks
Senior loneliness is becoming more concerning to people all over the world because of the adverse consequences loneliness poses to senior health. After all, most seniors tend to live alone with little to no family around. In addition, even when we have family within a reasonable distance, we don’t get to see them as much as we would like because of how busy life gets at times.
With that said, social isolation is a detrimental problem for seniors because it is associated with increased rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide! On top of these, social isolation is even associated with being at greater risk for dementia. Lastly, and most concerning, being isolated can increase someone’s risk for premature death from all causes! These and other loneliness health risks are a major problem for the health of many seniors. Furthermore, the cure to this problem is not too complex, and being more involved socially has many game-changing benefits. If individuals would engage in activities to help seniors, it would help to alleviate their isolation.
Senior Social Interaction Benefits
The older we get, the more important it is to socially interact with others because of the important health benefits of social interactions.
For instance, there are mental health benefits for seniors who are more social. Socializing regularly helps with memory recall, mood improvement, and cognitive function. In turn, this can help with the depression and anxiety that loneliness can cause.
Social interaction with others can also allow us to have a greater sense of our self-esteem. The more you interact with others and the more things you do with them make you feel healthier, and like you’re contributing your time towards something productive. Of course, the more friends you have, the more people who value you, your opinions, your interest, and so on will make you feel more mentally satisfied.
Lastly, people who build social connections with others tend to be more physically active. For example, when you go out to meet people you tend to do more walking than others who tend to stay home more. A great way to incorporate more physical exercise into your life is by getting a group of friends together to catch up and go on a walk around the neighborhood or a local park. In general, socially interactive people tend to move more. As a result, this helps them to keep their physical health in top shape
Obviously, with so many different benefits social interactions provide to us, it’s understandable why it’s so important for older individuals to meet new people. It might sound like a daunting task, but there are many new and fun ways to add spending time with others in your life.
1. Join a Senior Sports League
We might not be as young as we once were and we might be a little washed up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t join a senior sports league. There are many different kinds of sports that seniors can play. If you’re looking for a less active sport, try joining a golf league or a bowling league for seniors. If you’re in better shape and tend to be more active regularly, then try joining a senior softball league or basketball league.
It doesn’t matter how good you are at sports. Joining a recreational league will allow you to get away from your home once or twice a week, so you can meet new people who have the same interests as you. Playing basketball once a week at a local gym might become like going over to a new friend’s home to watch your favorite basketball team play regularly.
At the very least, joining a sports league of your interest will allow you to get out of your home more, meet new people with similar tastes, and gain more exercise.
Playing non-competitive sports is a great way to meet new people, but it’s not for everyone. Conversely, there are still other great opportunities to meet new people, like volunteering.
There are individuals of all ages who regularly volunteer within their community, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to socialize with others! In conjunction with increasing your social well-being, volunteering can help increase your mental, physical, and spiritual health too. For example, when you volunteer at a local food drive within your community, you will be working with new people, physically moving around to collect food, doing mental calculations as to how much food the drive has collected, and being a good practice of faith (if charity work is a prestigious part of your faith).
Many people want to do good through volunteering. Many also go to meet new people, so you will not be alone if that is your main reason for doing so. You can hear the different life experiences of others while helping your community. Maybe you will meet regular volunteers and become a regular volunteer yourself. Look at the different ways to volunteer in your community so you can meet others and do good!
3. Adopt a Pet
If you have ever had a pet before, then you know how satisfying life can be while owning a pet. Being a pet parent means that you’re responsible for their well-being, and they’re dependent on you for food, water, walks, fun, company, etc. Adopting and taking care of a pet alone could be satisfying enough for you, and it’s so easy to do so with so many great pet adoption websites.
However, adopting a pet is also a great way to meet other pet lovers of all ages! For example, if you’re a dog owner, then you might wish to bring your four-legged friend to the dog park. This is a great way for your furry friend to meet others, as well as yourself. You can also start a dog walking club within your neighborhood. If there are other dog owners around where you live, you can ask them if they want to go on walks or pet-friendly hikes regularly. Owning a pet is a great way to meet other pet enthusiasts while staying physically active.
As a word of caution, owning a pet is one of the more costly ways to socialize with others. Ultimately, you will need to make sure you have budgeted their food, toys, and both expected and unexpected vet visits. To help mitigate some of the expenses associated with owning a pet, you might want to consider ‘is pet insurance worth having.’ Pet insurance will allow you to get the best care available for your furry friend if they get sick or hurt. At the same time, it will allow you to avoid the financial burden of expensive vet visits.
4. Social Media
As opposing as it might sound to some, social media is a great way to meet others of all ages while in the comfort of your home. It’s important to note that learning how to use different social media sites and apps might be a little difficult for some at first. You’re not alone and there are many helpful guides to help you learn various social media apps.
Social media is an awesome way for seniors to socially interact with new people, as well as old friends. As mentioned above, family is often far away and life is too busy to spend an abundance of time with them. Having social media will allow you to see what loved family members are doing through text, pictures, and videos. Moreover, it’s a great way to see what is going on in your community, so you can be informed about different events going on. At the very least, social media is a nice source for finding temporary entertainment.
5. Visit a Senior Center
Last, but not least, an awesome way to meet new people is by visiting a senior center. Senior centers are great places for older individuals to meet new people like them, and to satisfy their social, mental, physical, and intellectual needs.
There are many different ways you can meet others at a senior center. Most senior centers offer educational and arts programs, recreational activities, and health and wellness programs, among other different social programs aimed at helping seniors connect with others. In addition, senior centers also offer programs like information assistance, employment assistance, meal assistance, and more to seniors that need a little extra help. These are activities to help seniors.
Senior centers and services are vital organizations that help people like us meet others and with our needs. Going to a senior center might seem a little scary at first, but it’s worth it. You could build meaningful relationships that you cherish for the rest of your life. Not to mention, you won’t be the only one going to a senior center looking to meet new people. According to an article by the National Council of Aging, more than one million older individuals live in or visit a senior center every day. With so many new people to meet, a senior center just might be the place to make a new best friend.
Many seniors experience some level of loneliness in their lives daily, so it’s normal if you’re feeling a little lonely. However, the good news is that it’s not too hard to meet new seniors and build long-lasting relationships. By joining a sports league, volunteering, adopting a pet, joining social media, or visiting a senior center, you are taking a great first step toward meeting others. In doing so, you would increase your quality of life.