Relationships are crucial for seniors to sustain a vibrant life. However, they can become increasingly difficult as you age. Friends and family members are moving and dying, we may be under pressure of care and medical problems may arise. Regardless of age, close relationships remain critical to our physical, mental and emotional health. Social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of mortality, falls and re-hospitalization in older adults.
What can you do to get involved and stay active as you get older?
• Volunteer: The free provision of time and skills can reduce social isolation and the feeling of loneliness. This experience is an opportunity to turn energy and challenges into something constructive and meaningful.
• Participate: Join a local committee, a civic organization or become active in your neighborhood association and in your city council. Become political and stand up for a cause.
• Prioritize Commitment: Recognize that your sanity and well-being are as important as your physical health. Say yes to invitations and be open to meeting people from all walks of life. Your new friend could be younger or older than you. Develop a positive, curious attitude and do not be shy about encouraging conversation.
• Continue reading: Learning skills enhances well-being and creates opportunities for socialization through education and discussion. At many universities, seniors can take courses for free or at a reduced rate.
• Care of an Animal: Your new friend does not have to live in your home. Walk with dogs to a shelter or play with kittens and chat with other animal-friendly volunteers.
• Adapting Social Technology: Learn about social media / technology so you can connect with new people online. Meet friends and family and join Meetup Groups.
• Become a Great Listener: Righteous listening can be rare. Be a good listener and fully absorb what someone shares with you. Listening leads to valuable friendships.
• Join in activities at the local library / join a book club: Libraries often offer a wide selection of fun classes, speakers, and clubs to choose from.
• Belief communities: Contact local churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations that offer activities and opportunities for socialization.
• Follow Your Passions: Promoting hobbies and activities is crucial to staying active in everyday life. What do you like to do? Follow it, and that will spark conversations with like-minded people.
Being curious about the world, about learning and about others, is a powerful way to get involved. Seniors who are out of their comfort zone, taking risks and trying out activities they have never done before, are less prone to the negative consequences of social isolation and loneliness. The next time you feel lonely, take a small step. You can do it.
https://seniorplanet.org//createthegood.org  https://www.vtvnetwork.org/
Biography: Sherry Saturno is the executive director of Gramatan Village. She has a dual license as a nursing home administrator and clinical social worker and holds a Master's degree from the Universities of Columbia and Long Island. She is a Fellow at the National Academies of Practice and has received a scholarship from the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She is the presenter and producer of Reimagine Aging Podcast and wrote and produced a short documentary, Human Investment.