For many seniors, the effects of social isolation are far too familiar. While retirement is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, it can often lead to loneliness and depression. As retirees move from their family homes to senior living facilities, they are forced to start anew in an unfamiliar environment. The effects of isolation can be physical, mental and emotional. Don’t let social isolation control your life. Stay healthy, happy and active by combating the effects of social isolation.
1. Find Your Purpose
Everyone has a purpose. Maybe yours is to teach piano, maintain a garden or help others through volunteer opportunities in your community. Having a hobby or interest can provide a healthy focus that is often social in nature. Finding your purpose in your golden years can also deter feelings of social isolation.
2. Connect with a Pet
Pets are not just companions; they can also ease feelings of uselessness. For seniors who want and can care for an animal, pets like cats, dogs, birds and fish can lift one’s spirits and give a sense of purpose on a day-to-day basis. Pets rely on their owners for love and nurturing, and seniors are able to reciprocate these feelings.
3. Acquire Transportation
As most seniors no longer drive, having accessible transportation is crucial to avoid social isolation effects. Today, many senior housing facilities provide transportation for community programs and trips. Some seniors may also choose to obtain a bus pass to visit shopping centers and other public sites.
4. Join a Group
The effects of isolation can majorly be avoided by participating in community groups or classes. Dance classes, art classes, group exercise programs, and other types of local community events and activities can give seniors something to look forward to. It’s also easier to make friends when involving yourself in groups with like-minded folks.
5. Use Technology
Modern technology has advanced leaps and bounds in recent years. Use computers, tablets, smart phones, and other forms of technology to your advantage to avoid social isolation effects. Video chatting is a great to stay in touch with friends or family who may not live in close proximity.
Social isolation has become a major health problem for many retirees, but living alone doesn’t have to be lonely. While it may be hard at first, getting out into the community is a great way to stay active and social.