Socializing for Seniors
Whether you decided to research this topic for yourself or for a parent or other aging loved one, this can be a rather sensitive issue. There isn’t quite the same system or network of safety and reliance for senior citizens as there exists for young people. In fact, it is highly likely that those of the baby boomer generation (age 65+) are only going to become more lonely as time goes on. You probably know from your own life experiences that feelings of loneliness are awful; that pretty much goes without saying. But as you age and you become more isolated, those feelings of loneliness can compound and multiply and are “linked to poor cognitive performance and quicker cognitive decline.” To help you and/or your loved one through this time of life, here are a few tips to help maintain a healthy level of social involvement.
There are plenty of places needing volunteers: libraries, museums, theaters, hospitals, dog shelters, etc. Especially if you are new to retirement, volunteering is a great way to keep moving but without all the pressures of a 9-5 job, or whatever other form of work you dealt with.
2. Keep Learning
You may feel a little out of place going back to college, but you can also look into adult education classes at your community college or volunteer with AmeriCorp’s Senior Corp. If you sign on for continuing education classes rather than traditional college courses, these are much more likely to be full of adults middle aged and older. This is a great way to keep your mind sharp by learning a new skill and help you keep up with your socializing to help combat loneliness. It will also help get you out of your home several times a week and make you socialize with people you likely would never have met otherwise. It’s a winning situation no matter how you look at it.
3. Get Moving
One great thing about being a senior is that loads of places offer discounted or even free admission or memberships. Some places to look into might be dance companies that offer classes, universities (such as a nearby community college), or even your local rec center or gym. There are tons of low-cost options for gym memberships now too. When you move your body, studies have shown that sports, especially dance, help to create new neuro pathways in your brain and strengthen old ones, fighting against dementia. And taking a social dance class, in particular, will help ensure that you meet some new people and make plenty of friends.