When a mature person loses a spouse, a close friend, or even a pet, it can be very easy to lose perspective on life. It is all too easy slip into sadness and seclusion and stop relating with people who once filled an important part in daily life. Children (if any) have often moved away and are frequently so heavily involved in their own lives, with work, children and other obligations that they cannot spend a lot of time with their aging parents. Although experiencing loss and loneliness as a senior citizen is difficult, it is not impossible to develop a new social life. A good attitude is a major factor, as is making most of the opportunities that come your way. Here are some ways that you can begin to build a fulfilling social life for yourself that will help you to live meaningfully and with purpose.
- Determine what activities you used to enjoy. Did a loss cause you to set aside favorite hobbies or pursuits? Pick them up from where you left off. Or try new activities with the help of a local club, group, church or even through Internet and library research. Use the local newspaper to keep abreast of upcoming events of interest. Visit university lectures on topics you know nothing about to stretch your imagination and improve your knowledge. More ideas are suggested in the Tips below.
- Return to keeping fit. While climbing Mt. Everest may no longer be in the cards, there is certainly nothing stopping you from continuing physical activities involving walking clubs, senior’s gym or other fitness activities made available especially for seniors. Staying fit is a sure way to build confidence and regain a healthy outlook on life!
- Find a buddy. If you feel reluctant to go out on your own, there are many volunteer organizations that will help by providing transportation. Invite a friend or neighbor to attend events with you. Get back into the rhythm of meeting new friends. Little by little, you’ll become less fearful of going out alone.
- Be open to new suggestions. This may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if it involves new technology. Consider trying new activities that are possible given your level of health and fitness, and that you find interesting. Try not to react negatively to suggestions from others who try to help. Think things through before rejecting the ideas altogether. You may discover something you wished you’d tried earlier.
- Become a mentor for younger people. Young people are eager and willing learners when they discover that you have knowledge that you are willing to share. Offer your services at local clubs to give talks, to teach a skill or to guide people (museums, zoos, parks etc.). Elderly people are respected for their knowledge; capitalize on this by sharing it.
- Remain positive. The pain will always be there; that is the nature of loss. You deserve the best after giving so much of yourself to the world. Smile when you’re feeling down. Smiling induces positive chemical changes in the brain and brings us back up. Take in a light movie or rent an old classic to watch at home. Listen to comedy on the radio, check out a humorous book or two from the library and have a good hearty chuckle. Rediscover your sense of humor and your well-being will improve; this is all the more important if you have buried yourself under a load of sadness, self-pity and sorrow.
- Think outside the square. Research the Internet for stories of the more challenging things senior citizens are doing; cycling across countries, skiing, writing a first novel, entering the Masters’ Games etc. All these things and more are possible with the right attitude. You are as old as you let yourself be; your dreams are as expansive as you let them be. So, what about all those things you promised yourself you’d do someday? Maybe today is that day.
- No matter what you’re doing, always offer to help others, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. In pursuing new activities and knowledge, you can build a social life simply by sharing your newfound zest for life.
- Here are some ideas for activities:
- Book clubs: Scan the bulletin board at your local library or book store for book clubs that meet periodically and share opinions about a particular book or author.
- Golf: Visit a recreation golf course in your area. Hit a few balls on the driving range to see if you like it. Inquire with the program coordinator or on-site pro about groups of other seniors that may need another member. If there are not senior groups, be proactive and start one!
- Learning new cuisines: Many communities have a retail store that specializes in cooking utensils, books, and offer cooking demonstrations or classes. Small groups of food and cooking enthusiasts are formed and their members become fast friends by sharing ideas, recipes and “touring” dinners at each other’s homes; even touring a country for its cuisine is not out of the realms of possibility. Move beyond the cuisine you’ve always made and try something completely different.
- Sewing/Knitting/Crochet/Quilting: These timeless activities are always great hobbies. Check out the local craft or fabric shop for postings on clubs or groups that share these hobbies. Or offer to teach – your skills are in high demand from younger generations rediscovering their utility and relaxing nature.
- Gardening: This can almost become a job as much as an activity, depending on how much you want to do. Whether it’s just puttering around a small flower bed, or becoming an expert on roses and orchids; gardening is a very popular pastime. Garden clubs abound and many cities have a community garden where individuals maintain their own plot within the garden to plant, nurture and harvest their favorite growing elements. If you are already an experienced gardener, share these skills with others by giving demonstrations or mini-lectures through clubs or botanical gardens.
- Scrapbooking: You are sure to have years of photos and memorabilia that tell your life’s story! Introduce yourself to this popular activity by attending a scrapping party or taking a class at your local craft retailer.
- Visit your local senior center. Take a trip to learn what activities are offered; something is certain to tickle your fancy.
- Further ideas you might like consider include:
- Season ticket packages for concerts and/or plays.
- Building bird houses, making doll clothes, volunteering at your hospital or shelter.
- Adult education classes. Perhaps you’d like to learn about computers, or obtain your high school diploma or degree. Many facilities offer physical classes such as low-impact jazzercise or yoga.
- Volunteer at the library to teach adults to read.
- Join a chess or bridge club.
- Reading and story-telling to youngsters at the library.
- Join wikiHow and write or edit articles.
- Don’t ever think you are left alone you have been blessed and “people who help themselves god helps them too”.
- Know your physical limitations. Consult with your personal physician prior to beginning a new physical activity.
- If you have difficulty with your eyesight and reading, first ensure that you have the best possible medical attention and eye examinations. Get the most suitable eyeglasses for your needs. Ask for books with large print; these are available at many libraries. It is also possible to increase the size of the font on your computer and Internet; ask someone for help if you cannot work out how to do this yourself.
- How to Live After the Death of a Spouse
- How to Build a Social Network
- How to Grow Old Without Feeling Old
- How to Remain Young Despite Becoming a Senior
- How to Go to the Movies
- How to Become an Artist
- How to Live a Proactive Life
- How to Keep Senior Citizens Active
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Build a Social Life as a Senior Citizen. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.
Stanton Lawson is the Co-Owner of Sequoia Senior Solutions. Sequoia’s mission is to ensure a better quality of life for their elderly clients and their families, by providing dependable and affordable in-home care. Sequoia’s focus is to keep you or your loved ones at home and avoid:
- Loss of friends and possessions
- Loss of independence and freedom
- Loss of spirit which is drained by the battles of daily living
Sequoia Senior Solutions, Inc. services Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Solano, Mendocino, Lake Counties. The main office is located at191 Lynch Creek Way, Suite 102, Petaluma, CA 94954. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (707) 763-6600 Fax: (707) 763-6607, www.sequoiaseniorsolutions.com.