Retiring can be socially isolating. Not only does it mean that you no longer interact with your coworkers on a daily basis, but you may not be able to get together with friends and family members who are still working. You need to make a plan to make new friends and have new adventures.
Today’s seniors are living longer, are better educated and more physically active than past generations. They have more time and more options to stay socially active as they age. Some common ways older people engage socially are going to museums and the theater, participating in activities at a senior center or joining a card club. But, there are more ways to connect with others, too. Think outside the box to stay young and engaged. Try these ideas.
Be a lifelong learner
Consider taking a community or university class to meet other people with similar interests. Pick subjects that you’ve always wanted to learn more about, such as biology, political science, history, psychology or foreign languages. Or take a class that can help you learn a new hobby or skill, such as photography, scrapbooking art or carpentry. Keep up with advances in technology by enrolling in computer or technology classes. Some universities have classes designed for seniors without tests or credits and may be offered for free. Check if a college near you offers this perk.
Some people start a second career or pick up new skills on the job. Try something new like becoming an Uber/Lyft driver or go back to school or launch a new business or foundation.
Join a club
Get involved in special clubs with events like recreational vehicle groups, quilting clubs, fishing groups, religious study groups, travel groups, society or book clubs. Whether it’s a passion you’ve had your whole life or a newfound interest you want to try, exploring a hobby with a group can expose you to new ideas and adventures.
Volunteer your time at schools, churches, libraries, non-profit organizations and community centers. Find something you are passionate about. It is a great way to get together socially with others who have interests similar to yours and help those in need. It also gives purpose to life.
Get physically active with others
It’s important to stay physically active as you age. Check out groups that provide both physical and social activities, such as dance, yoga, charity walks, biking groups, swimming, golf, pickle ball or lawn bowling. You could even become a referee for your favorite sport.
Some activities are open to all age groups, while others are for seniors only. Silver Sneakers is a program designed to keep adults 65 years and older healthy and moving. The program includes 13,000 participating facilities, such as YMCAs, across the U.S. It offers access to exclusive fitness classes, meetups and even Medicare health plans. As a member, you can attend any participating gyms at any time.
Opportunities abound. It may take a step out of your comfort zone to try something new, but you won’t regret taking the leap.
Jean Cherry, BSN, WCC, MBA develops clinical programs and writes for Walgreens, where you can find assistive devices for seniors like lift chairs on the Walgreens website. As a former home health nurse, Jean prides herself in helping seniors stay active in their communities and live independently at home.
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