Loneliness among seniors is one of the biggest yet rarely discussed national crises in the country. There are currently millions of older people who are chronically lonely, and with the population aging at a rapid rate, that number is only set to continue. Many older people might struggle to spend a lot of time with friends and while family members might wish that they could spend more time with you, they often have their own commitments to uphold such as full-time work or looking after a family. If you are an older person and you have started to feel lonelier than usual recently, taking steps to improve your social life is important. Or, perhaps you are worried about an elderly relative who is on their own a lot and wondering if there is anything that you could encourage them to do to improve the situation.
Many older people are lonely because they are living on their own and away from family, friends, and other people that they might be able to socialize with. For older people who struggle with mobility and getting out of the house to meet up with others, the loneliness could worsen over time. For many older people, moving to a retirement facility like Brandywine Living could be just what they need to reduce the loneliness and enjoy a more vibrant social life. Retirement communities often allow older people to retain as much independence as possible while having help on hand whenever they need it, along with on-site facilities where they can make new friends among the other residents and meet up at any time of the day.
Many older people find that volunteering during their retirement is a great way to stay busy and social. While retirement is meant to be a chance to finally take a break from work, it can be a sudden change to somebody who is used to working full-time and can often be a bit of a shock to the social system, especially for somebody who is used to an active social life with colleagues. Volunteering for a charity is often a very fulfilling way for older people to spend their time and can be a great way to socialize and meet new people on a regular basis.
Joining a local club can be an ideal way for an older person to spend their time and improve their social life. Check the local area to find clubs that might be ideal for you or the older person in your life that you are concerned about. Joining a club is a brilliant way to improve your social life and many will run on a weekly basis, providing a routine and a way to meet with people regularly. There are several club ideas that you might want to consider, whether you want to continue doing a hobby that you have always been interested in or want the chance to learn something new. Arts and crafts clubs are a great idea for seniors who enjoy working with their hands and making things, while a running, cycling, or swimming club might be ideal for you if you enjoy keeping fit and healthy.
Technology has been a major improvement in the lives of many older people who would otherwise be lonely at home, especially over the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult for older people to spend as much time with their family and friends as they would normally. Whether you are feeling lonely as a senior yourself or are concerned for a senior friend or family member who has expressed that they are feeling lonely, technology can step in to provide much-needed connections from home. Video calling, for example, has become much easier to use in recent years and many seniors will use apps like WhatsApp and Facetime to stay in touch with family and friends on a regular basis even when they are unable to meet up in person.
Consider Getting a Pet
Pets don’t just provide domestic companionship, but many could help you start conversations with other people. Getting a dog and walking it daily in the local park, for example, could help you meet with other dog owners and walkers and make new friends that you can talk to on a daily basis. If you don’t want the pressure or responsibility of owning a dog of your own, consider signing up to websites where you can borrow other people’s dogs for the day and take them on walks to enjoy the companionship without the responsibility or the cost. Alternatively, a pet like a cat that will provide you with companionship and comfort at home without the effort that will go into looking after a dog might be an ideal choice for you.
Get an Allotment
If you enjoy gardening, getting out of your own garden and getting a local allotment can be a great way to spend more time on your hobby and make new friends. Whether you enjoy planting flowers or growing your own vegetables, going to an allotment to get green fingered gives you the chance to meet and socialize with other like-minded allotment owners, gardeners and farmers. Plus, if you are spending more time at home than usual these days, or enjoy gardening but don’t have a big enough outdoor space to do it at home, this can be a great way to make sure that you are leaving the house on a regular basis to attend to your crops. And, getting an allotment can have a lot of physical health benefits for older people including spending more time in the fresh air and around nature and all the exercise that comes from digging and lifting gardening equipment.
Loneliness among seniors is becoming a larger problem around the country. Whether you are currently retired and feeling lonely, or you are concerned for an older person in your life who doesn’t get a lot of social interaction, the good news is that there are several options to consider as a solution.
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