Get out there and be social. Make an effort to be around other people. Visit your local senior center, take a class, attend a book club or social group, go to a seminar, volunteer, or join a gym (with "okay" from your doctor).
Stay involved in your interests. Don’t stop being involved in something you enjoy if it is something you can continue during your seasoned years. If you golf, continue to golf. You may not be able to walk the course, but you can ride in a cart. If you knit, continue to knit. Perhaps you may not be able to tackle the intricate patterns you could in earlier years, but it may be possible for you to knit something less intricate or difficult. Try using different colors to make a simple piece more interesting. If you enjoy being involved in politics, you may not be able to spend as many hours out on a street corner in support of your favorite candidate, but you could make phone calls or stuff envelopes.
Take up a new hobby. Join a group to learn the basics or ask a friend to teach you. Learning something new keeps the mind active and fills time with something that challenges you. Many hobbies involve activity that can help with cognitive and motor skills, especially the use of your memory and hands. Find something you enjoy and stick with it.
Keep moving. Staying as physically active as possible as you age has many health benefits and can help you live a mobile, socially engaged lifestyle for as long as possible. It is much easier to stay socially active when you are able to move around without too many restrictions. Exercising in later years can help maintain mobility, improve flexibility, increase strength, boost energy, elevate moods, reduce the risk of certain health problems, and possibly even help you live longer. Many studies have shown that moderate physical activity is beneficial as we age. Make sure to check with your doctor before you begin a new exercise regime.
Eat a healthy diet. Making sure you are getting enough nutrients in your diet can help prevent some of health problems that are common as we age and make it more difficult to socialize. A healthy diet can help protect against high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, anemia, heart disease, and other issues.
Make physical contact with others. Studies have shown that physical contact has many benefits. General physical contact can promote health and well-being; elevate feelings of well-being; reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; lower blood pressure; and decrease pain. So… hug your family and friends… give someone a pat on the back… snuggle with your pet... shake hands with your doctor at your next visit or the librarian when you check out a book. Not only will you get something out of the gesture, the other person will as well. Of course, make sure all physical contact is appropriate and respectful.
Get a pet. Taking care of a pet keeps you busy, active, and involved. Loving a pet and being loved by a pet is fulfilling and rewarding. Walking a pet and bringing it to the vet gives you an opportunity to interact with others. Of course, consider getting a pet only if you are physically able to care for it.
There is a big difference between spending time alone and feeling “lonely.” Many people in their “seasoned” years find that they stay home a lot more and socialize a lot less than they did in their younger years. Some are happy with the change. Others are not. In either case, it is a good idea to make sure to mix in with other people at least from time to time during the seasoned times of life.
Social isolation in our later years can lead to loneliness... and loneliness can have a negative physical, mental and/or emotional impact, especially for those of us who are used to spending a lot of time with other people. Loneliness can lead to problems such as insomnia; stress, anxiety, and depression; loss of physical abilities and independence; as well as a higher risk of certain chronic diseases.
Our social interactions tend to decrease as we age for a variety of reasons, including retirement, the death of a spouse or friends, lack of nearby family, physical challenges, loss of mobility, cognitive issues, and/or other health concerns. But feeling lonely is not an unavoidable or inescapable aspect of getting older. There are many things you can do to keep yourself engaged with other people.
Loneliness should not be ignored or taken lightly. Reach out to your doctor and loved ones to let them know if feelings of loneliness are affecting your life. The following tips can help you stay socially involved.