Stay in touch
There are many reasons why seniors may find themselves spending more time on their own. Children grow up and leave the nest, retirement takes us away from the hustle and bustle of a workplace, and divorce or the death of a spouse separates us from the partner we once shared a life with.
As we age we sometimes find it necessary to make more of an effort to stay social because often the opportunities to interact with others just aren’t as easy to find as they once were.
But it’s so important to make the effort. The human need to feel connected to the world around us and to have a sense of belonging is still just as present when we’re older, and experiencing love and friendship from those around us feels just as good and as necessary.
It’s also healthy to stay socially connected as you age. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and some cancers, and can even boost your immune system.1
So what can you do to stay social as you age? Aside from making an effort to arrange regular visits and fun outings with family members and friends, there are other ways to stay busy and enjoy the company of others. You just need to know where to look!
1. Find ways to make a difference. Organizations are looking for people exactly like you who have the time and life experiences needed to make an impact on others in your very own community.
- AARP: The AARP Foundation Experience Corps is a literacy program that helps struggling students become great readers. They are always looking for volunteers age 50 and older to tutor students for 6 – 15 hours per week. Twenty-two cities across the United States participate in the literacy program. Visit AARP to find out more about this and other volunteer opportunities.
- ca: This organization will match you with other organizations in Canada who are looking for volunteers with your life experience. Visit Volunteer.ca for more information.
- NCVO: This organization will connect you with volunteer organizations in England who need your help. Visit NCVO to find out more.
- Foresters: Visit MyForesters.com to find out about volunteer opportunities right in your own community, and ways you and you family can get involved in group activities to help others.
2. Chat online. You may think that using the Internet to find friends is a young person’s game, but there are plenty of sites available just for the over 50 set looking for friendship. Sites like Senior Chatters and Buzz 50 are set up specifically for older folks to connect and chat. As with any online communication, be cautious about divulging your personal information to strangers and read all the fine print to make sure that you’re comfortable with the website’s terms and conditions.
3. Get communal. Check out our article on the rise of senior co-housing communes to see if it might be something you’d consider as you age.
4. Be a joiner. Social clubs for seniors are a great way to meet others in your community and strike up new friendships. Check with your local community centre or place of worship to find out about book clubs, garden clubs, art clubs, and other senior-focused groups in your area.
Age is just a number and it shouldn’t define you or limit you. Making an effort to stay engaged in the wonderful world around you as you age can give you a sense of purpose, and may help you find fulfillment and joy you never thought possible at this stage in your life.
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