We all experience feelings of loneliness at one time or another. Unfortunately, loneliness and isolation in older adults is a common occurrence. One reason seniors may feel isolated is because many older adults live alone, often after the loss of a loved one. Reduced mobility that comes with age can also prevent older adults from getting out of the house. And finally, without frequent visits from family or friends, feelings of isolation can creep in and prevent seniors from living their life to the fullest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), loneliness and social isolation increases the risk of health complications for seniors including dementia, heart disease, depression and anxiety. For this reason, it is important for older adults to be proactive when it comes to their mental health in their senior years.
The good news is that overcoming loneliness in retirement is possible with the right lifestyle and mindset. Here are a few strategies and activities that can positively change your life.
Focus on Your Health
If you are physically able, sign up for a senior health program. This may include joining a fitness class at the local gym, swimming at your community center or attending a senior nutrition workshop. Exercise is great for your mental and physical health, and it also provides ways to meet other seniors in your community.
Learn Something New
Retirement is an ideal time to get out and pick up a new hobby! From painting and baking to playing the piano or learning a new language, many local craft stores offer classes throughout the year for people of all ages. Not only will you pick up a new skill, but you may also meet some new friends who enjoy the same things as you.
Another way to combat loneliness is to look for volunteer opportunities in your local area. Hospitals, schools and community centers always need a helping hand. Volunteering allows you to utilize your skills and talents for a good cause. It’s also a great way to meet and build positive relationships with other individuals who share your similar interests.
Adopt a Pet
If you’re an animal lover, adopting a pet can be a great way to help reduce your feeling of loneliness. Pets make excellent companions, provide affection and help alleviate boredom. Taking care of an animal in the home also creates aa sense of responsibility and can help a senior regain their sense of purpose that comes with nurturing a living thing.
Move to a Retirement Community
It’s only natural that seniors who live alone will experience some degree of loneliness. The desire to remain at home and maintain independence as you age is common, but isolation and depression can be a dangerous consequence.
Today, senior living communities offer a great solution for combating senior loneliness. Life in a senior living community helps promote health and wellness and encourages socialization for seniors. Older adults can enjoy maintenance-free living and stress-free lifestyles that allows for more time to pursue passions, stay active and build relationships with neighbors.
Bottom line: The best remedy for senior loneliness is staying connected. By interacting with others, learning new things and remaining socially engaged, older adults can help combat feelings of isolation and the health risks that are associated with it.