Loneliness has become an evident problem among older populations, affecting an estimated one in three people between the ages of 50 and 80. Unfortunately, loneliness has a documented impact on physical and emotional health, so it’s important to find a resolution. If you or one of your loved one show signs of feeling lonely, here are five things that may help.
Develop a Hobby
There are plenty of activities older adults can pursue that will keep them occupied, and combat loneliness. Some also allow them to interact with others on a social level occasionally. If you enjoy knitting or coloring, for instance, many communities offer activities that will allow you to enjoy your hobby with others in your community. Even if it’s simply a gathering to discuss a shared passion, if your hobby puts you in contact with others, it will be a big help in reducing loneliness.
Go on Excursions
There’s no shortage of tour groups for older adults that give you a chance to get out of your comfort zone while meeting new people. If you belong to an organization that caters to older adults, check into what group excursions are taking place. Plenty of 55-plus and assisted living communities also plan group trips. Not only will you get the socialization you’re missing, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the fun and adventure that comes with traveling.
Take a Class
College isn’t just for young adults anymore. More retirees than ever are choosing to put their free time into learning. Look around for learning centers geared toward older adults, but you may also find plenty of adult learners at community colleges, especially at night and on weekends. Many classes geared toward “lifelong learners” are priced lower than courses aimed at getting a college degree. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the pressure of keeping up a certain grade point average or cramming for midterms.
Get Daily Exercise
Exercise is good for you on a variety of levels. You’ll release those endorphins that help stave away depression and improve your overall well-being. But if you choose to exercise with at least one other person, you’ll also satisfy that craving to interact with others. Ask a friend to take a daily walk around the block or join a balance class with your community neighbors. Any type of movement whether it be simple stretching or a long walk will give you a boost in mood and ward off that feeling of loneliness.
Have Regular Hearing and Vision Tests
Hundreds of millions of people over the age of 40 have some form of eye disease, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Nearly half of those over the age of 75 have difficulty hearing. These statistics highlight the importance of regular hearing and vision tests. Unfortunately, when either of these senses isn’t performing at peak levels, you may shut yourself off from others without even realizing it. Testing can reveal these issues so that you can get treatment and return to being comfortable in group settings.
Although it is difficult to make friends as you get older, the good news is, there are more opportunities than ever to get together with other people your age. If you can’t find a group that fits your own interests, consider starting one at a nearby community center or meeting room. You’ll likely find there are plenty of other people who are interested in getting together with others.
Here at Walker Methodist, we believe in the power of community and we give our residents access to many different programs and activities in order to ensure that they aren’t feeling the pangs of loneliness. To find out more about us and our communities, contact us today!