Staying Active for Life
Staying socially active can decrease stress and reduce risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and dementia. Talk to our experts about ways to stay social as you age.
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6 Tips for Staying Socially Active
Ironically, if you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone. A survey conducted prior to the pandemic found that 43% of older adults report feeling lonely on a regular basis. We can only assume that has increased with social distancing. However, isolation and loneliness don’t have to be a normal part of aging. It can and should be addressed. Here are some ways you can overcome common factors that may be getting in the way of your social activity.
Find safe mobility support and transportation
Issues with mobility can impact your ability to drive or get out of the house. They shouldn't, however, keep you from social engagements and activities that you enjoy. Make sure you own and use proper equipment to help you get around safely. Look into transportation options to get you where you want to go such as public transport, family or friends, volunteer programs, ride-share apps, or home care. A home care professional can help you get safely from your home to a book club, bridge game, or community center.
Regularly check for hearing loss
Don’t let hearing challenges keep you from living a social life. Get your hearing checked regularly and talk to your doctor about available treatments and assistive devices like hearing aids. Technology such as caption-call telephones and video chats can help you better interpret conversations. You can also ask family and friends to speak louder, slower, and to face you when they speak to improve communication.
Build local relationships
If you live alone, introduce yourself to your neighbors, and try to find local walking clubs or exercise groups to join. Visit a local senior center or community center. Perhaps find a local organization to volunteer with or a faith-based organization to get involved in. A pet can also be an excellent companion if you’re able to care for them.
Seek intergenerational interactions
Find ways to connect with younger generations, like your grandchildren or younger family members. Volunteer to read at a local elementary school or early childhood education center. Look into mentoring programs where you can share your life lessons.
Stay connected while social distancing
If you’re concerned about COVID or other seasonal viruses, try scheduling regular phone calls or video calls with friends and family to stay connected. AARP’s Connect2Affect shares some great options for online socialization, including dating sites, here. Depending on the weather, you can gather or share a meal together outdoors.
Find non-tech solutions or learn new technology
If you don’t enjoy video calls, sending cards and letters can be a great way to stay connected to friends and family. You can also meet someone new by becoming a pen pal and correspond by mail or email. Or use this opportunity to challenge yourself to learn a new technology tool. Classes can often be found at a local community center or at GetSetUp.
Humans are social creatures by nature. As we age, it’s so important to make the effort to maintain human connection, especially if we have lost loved ones. You’re never too old to make a new friend, learn or be challenged by someone with different life experiences.