Maintaining social connections can be difficult at any age. However, it can present unique challenges as we enter our autumn years. Getting older often means losing the social connections we used in other stages of adulthood. Work and children alone can create a range of social situations that often help to define that period of our lives. As we age, many of those connections are left behind. There is nothing that can be done about it.
Getting Older Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Make Friends
However, that does not mean you can no longer make new friends. As a senior citizen, there are more options and ways to make friends than ever before. Chances are, there are lots of neat ideas that have never even occurred to you!
We’ve compiled some of our favorite suggestions. From staying connected/researching ideas with a smartphone for seniors, to learning more about what your community has to offer, there are lots of ways to fill the void that sometimes emerges from a diminishing social circle.
Understand in no uncertain terms that you do not have to settle for being alone.
Do You Struggle With Being Shy?
One important aspect we should touch on is the notion of being too shy to explore your options. If you were a shy person throughout your life, it stands to reason that you are still going to feel shy as a senior. In fact, some seniors have said that these feelings only intensified as they got older, which in turn brought on more substantial feelings of loneliness and isolation. Obviously, you don’t want to enjoy this chapter of your life in such a way.
If you do struggle with being shy, and with being lonely, the first you can do is admit to these things. Knowing what you are up against can be a great relief. It can also put you on the path towards addressing these things in the most proactive, meaningful fashion possible. Keep in mind as well that many, many seniors your age feel the same way.
Take small steps. Congratulate yourself every time you achieve something by conquering a bout of shyness. You can also keep in mind some of the tips to help you find and connect with charming, engaging, likeminded people.
Activities And Ideas On Staying Social As A Senior
Even joining a Facebook group for recent retirees, or perhaps seniors who also own pets, can help you to meet new people. The idea is to get out of the house, but ultimately, positive social connections can come to you in a variety of forms. Embrace or try anything that feels right to you.
Here are a few great activities and other ideas to consider as a senior:
- The local senior center: If you have one of these in your area, you’ve likely hit the jackpot for potential activities/events. A good senior center will always have something going on. It can be as simple as a game night, but some centers put together tours and short trips, as well. You can almost certainly find something that appeals to your interest and schedule.
- Look for senior clubs: The odds of having a senior club or two in your area are pretty good. More likely than not, you will be able to find them at the senior center. A club can be a great low-stress way to meet new people.
- Take a class: Whether at the senior center, the local library, or even at a nearby community college, there are adult education and other types of classes available. Whether you want to learn a new skill, or perhaps take up a new hobby, you will likely find some appealing options. Many of these classes are designed for seniors in the first place.
- Volunteer: There are senior volunteer groups, as well as more general ones. Such groups can be a good fit for those who want to meet some new people, while simultaneously pitching in to help out the community at large.
- Start your own group: Using some of the resources we’ve mentioned above, you can also always consider the very real possibility of starting a group of your own. It goes without saying that this can be a big use of your time and energy. It may also not be an ideal choice for anyone who considers themselves to be shy, or for anyone who is just starting to tread the sometimes-difficult waters of being social as a senior. Nonetheless, if you see a lack of something in your community, such as a dog-walking group, volunteer group, or even mall walkers’ group, don’t be afraid to make things happen on your own!
Even signing up for a senior dating website, which can be just as useful to those seeking platonic connections, can be a fun way to build a new social circle.
Also, as we briefly touched on earlier, consider upgrading your phone, if it’s been a long time. In this day and age, it is pretty much essential for anyone who wants to keep up with friends, family, and even new friends. You don’t have to get the latest device from Apple or Samsung either. A cellphone specifically designed for a senior citizen can be perfect for having an easy way to keep up with new friends and to help maintain your independence longer.
The Benefits Of Being A Social Senior
The benefits of being social as a senior are numerous. Studies show that maintaining an active social life as a senior citizen can dramatically enhance and improve cognitive functions. At the same time, it can also reduce the amount of stress in your daily life. For example, if you just recently retired, you may find yourself struggling to build a new routine. Looking for opportunities to make new friends can be a great way to offset the depression and anxiety people sometimes feel after leaving a longtime job or career behind.
Being social can also lead to better physical health. This in turn can help you to live a longer, and certainly more satisfying, life.