Older adults may face a higher risk of finding themselves isolated from friends and family even when they were once very social. Children and grandchildren grow up and move away. When we retire, we are cut off from daily interactions we once had. Disabilities can make it even more challenging to keep up the same level of activity we once knew. It is important to maintain social connections in these situations. Interactions with others has been shown to have both physical and mental health benefits.
Social Apps and Technology
Sometimes distance is the biggest factor in keeping us from seeing our loved ones as often as we would like. Consider using social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram to stay in touch with friends and family from across the world. Skype is another way great way to connect with people as it is very intuitive, and it allows you to make connections with a system similar to a phone call with the added benefit of video and messaging.
Volunteer in Your Community
Retirement does not need to leave you feeling restless and without a way to spend your time. Stay active in your community by volunteering at your local animal shelter, food charity, or library. Organizations such as Senior Corp offer people 55 and up with training and connections to charities that are tailored to your interests. Senior Corp recognizes that retirees have a lot of skills and knowledge that make them very valuable to charities that are in need of help.
Get a Pet to Keep You Company
Studies have shown that the presence of a dog or cat can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Dogs can also open the door to social interactions when you take your pet for a walk around the neighborhood or to the dog park. If you have a disability that might make it more difficult to give your dog walks yourself, finding a reliable dog walker or sitter will enable you to have the benefits of pet ownership without the responsibility of having to provide exercise or full-time care.
Join a Club
A club is a great way to connect with other people who share your interests such as hobbies, reading, or cooking. If you can’t find a club or group in your area that fits what you are looking for, look into starting one yourself. There is often free meeting space in your community at your local library, a church, or public school. You can also host a smaller group in your home.
Most facilities provide activities that encourage socialization among its residents. While the transition to a care facility may take some adjustment time, be sure to take advantage of these programs when they are available. You may initially feel cut off from the people you are close to, but you are also around others that may feel the same way you do. Take the time to meet new people and participate in gatherings and outings when they become available.