Loneliness is a huge problem in the senior population, and it’s no wonder. When you’re older, you’re often retired and your kids are no longer at home. Those natural social interactions are not there anymore, and it can be hard to find new ones. Additionally, you may have chronic health conditions that make getting out or certain activities that much harder. However, loneliness puts older adults at a higher risk of many things including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, dementia, and even death, making it a big deal. In this article, we’ll go over a few tips on how to combat loneliness and stay connected and engaged.
- Utilize technology. With all the technological advancements, it’s so much easier to stay in touch with friends or family members, even those who don’t live nearby. Whether you call them up on the phone, email them, or use a video chatting feature, technology can be a great way to stay connected. If you struggle with technology, SCOA’s Claris Tablet Companion program may be a good option, as this tablet was designed with seniors in mind.
- Adopt a pet. While talking to other humans is very important, a pet can give you something to focus on and care for and traditional pets like cats or dogs can offer companionship and the occasional cuddle. If you feel even a small dog or cat is too big of a commitment, a bird or fish may even be able to help and give you something else to focus on.
- Enjoy meals with others. Enjoying a meal with friends or family can be so beneficial for our health, and it’s a great way to foster connection. This can look different for different people. Maybe you’re up to cooking dinner for family members or inviting a few friends or neighbors over. However, it can also look like joining in a meal with a family member joining our Senior Center Without Walls program.
- Try a new activity or class. While being retired means you’re not connecting with others at work, but it also means you have more time on your hands and have the opportunity to try out new activities and classes. Whether it’s an exercise class, an educational workshop, an art class, or even one of SCOA’s virtual coffee chats, classes and activities can be a great way to connect with others and make new friends. We offer many classes and activities for seniors right here in Southwest Georgia, so check them out: https://sowegacoa.org/events/month/!