September 1st, 2020
While many people have been forced into periods of isolation over the past few months, the reality is that for many senior citizens isolation and feeling the effects of loneliness are too common in their daily life.
Human connection is important to a persons overall emotional and physical well-being. Fortunately, there are steps that seniors can take to help combat loneliness.
Seniors have a wealth of life experience and volunteering your time and talents is a great way to help others while providing you with valuable interactions. Volunteering can also be a good reminder of all the things in your life for which you can be thankful.
If you are unsure of where to find volunteer opportunities, you local office of aging can be a good resource and many hospitals also offer a variety of volunteer options. Some areas also have senior centers which can also regularly use volunteers.
Stay Connected to Friends & Make New Ones
Friends, especially longtime friends, are wonderful sources of companionship and emotional support. Its important to reach out to those special people regularly so that you can be there for one another. Whether in-person, on the phone, email or video chat, make staying connected a priority.
And while it isnt always the most comfortable thing to do, look for opportunities to develop new friendships. An online article by Lynn Ponton, MD offers some great advice:
Make the effort to meet new people. At first, you may simply enjoy the companionship of a casual acquaintance. But over time, some of these relationships will grow into close friendships, the kind you can turn to for emotional support.
Your local senior center and area agency on aging are great resources, often organizing classes, outings and social functions for people who want to enjoy life with other seniors. Churches, health clubs, civic and service organizations, educational classes, travel clubs, and special interest groups are good places to meet people of all ages.
Even if Youre Homebound
Dr. Ponton goes on to state, Meeting people can be particularly difficult if you are homebound. Call your area agency on aging or place of worship to inquire about home-visitation services as well as community transportation for elderly people.
A Pet Can Help Battle Loneliness
Some seniors find getting or adopting a pet gives them a new lease on life. Not only does a pet provide wonderful companionship, but they can also help bring a new level of energy and activity into your life. Plus, caring for a pet gives you the knowledge that youre needed, accepted and loved.
Hobbies Can Help
Sometimes investing your time into a hobby can help fight off feelings of loneliness even if the hobby doesnt involve other people. Getting involved in a hobby can give you motivation while keeping your mind active. Some seniors enjoy hobbies like gardening, playing a musical instrument, doing puzzles, painting, knitting, arts and crafts, reading, writing, stamp collecting, model trains, exercising, playing games and so much morel. The key is to find a hobby you enjoy and then make sure you dedicate time to truly enjoy it!