Having a close circle of friends can provide a support system to make life’s ups and downs a little easier to navigate. This is important at every age, but especially so for older adults. From encouraging us to exercise to lending an ear when times are tough, friends play a role in our quality of life and even our longevity.
By remaining connected with friends, seniors are more likely to socialize and stay engaged with their community. Older adults who are socially active are usually better at following their doctor’s advice for routine health screenings, taking medications, and other self-care necessities. This can lead to improved physical, emotional, and mental health.
When Your Circle of Friends Declines
A common challenge seniors experience as they grow older is seeing their social circle decrease. This may be a result of friends moving closer to adult children or long-time friends passing away. Relationships developed from years spent working together might evaporate once you retire. The trend of late-life divorce might also cause a shift in a senior’s social support network.
The dangers of isolation for older adults are well established. Seniors who are isolated are more likely to become sedentary and develop health problems as a result. Diabetes, depression, stroke, heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure are a few conditions that are more common among people who suffer from isolation.
How to Expand Your Social Circle during Retirement
If you or a senior loved one needs help rebuilding your social circle, we have a few ideas for you to consider. While the COVID-19 pandemic may limit your ability to interact, it’s a good list to keep handy once restrictions are lifted.
- Ask at your church or synagogue if there are any senior groups or intergenerational clubs you can join
- Enroll in a class at a community college or through your local continuing education program
- Join and participate in activities and special events at a local senior center
- Volunteer your time for a nonprofit agency, even if it is only virtually for now
- Explore senior-friendly fitness opportunities at your local YMCA or health club
- Call or check the websites of area libraries and bookstores to see if they host book clubs
- Join a retiree group linked to your former profession, such as a retired teachers association, or alumni association for your high school or college
- Explore organizations based on your favorite hobbies, such as watercolor painting, travel, gardening, or photography
Finally, consider relocating to an independent living community. You’ll find that many of the activities listed above are part of everyday life for residents. Life enrichment activities often include book clubs, fitness programs, on-site art classes, volunteer opportunities, and more.
If you are concerned that an independent living community is too expensive for your budget, we have a resource you will find helpful. A Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing shares funding sources that can make this type of move more affordable than you imagined. Download it for free today!