Feeling lonely is not an age specific issue. Katie Wright-Bevans, a professor in Psychology from Keele University, recently wrote that loneliness is rife amongst young people. It’s easy to see the comparisons between young people and people over 65 feeling the same sense of floundering and isolation due to drastic life changes. The difference is that loneliness in old age can have a critical effect on seniors’ mental and physical well-being. Which is why there’s no shame in putting some plans in action to combat it. Here are our eight practical tips to reduce loneliness and rediscover socialising.
Using Elder Services
Luckily, most countries are aware of the problem of feeling more isolated as you get older and elderly loneliness. Families move further away, friends pass away, mobility can be sometimes become more difficult . It’s a common phenomenon. All these simple life events can make you feel stressed about creating new ties with other people. There are lots of services for older people that help them connect with other seniors, young people or groups. These are all free services designed to make it as easy as possible for you to decide you want to go out and talk to someone new. Here are some resources that are well reviewed by seniors:
Reduce Loneliness in Old Age by Embracing Modern Technology
Whether you’re a tech whiz or a technophobe, there’s always stuff to learn and explore on the internet. No matter what your interest; biographical documentaries, rustic Italian cooking, hiking trails or just simple chit-chat – there’s a corner of the internet where people are discussing it too. Facebook groups, senior forums, Reddit, Twitter – these are all great places to start out and explore. If you’re not sure where to even begin, then check out a local computer course to give you some confidence. FYI, if you don’t have a computer, it’s been shown that older people prefer tablets to laptops because of their intuitive nature.
- Senior Center Directory – Will typically offer senior classes, if not, Google ‘senior computer classes near me’ and see what is available locally.
Explore and Make a Diary
Loneliness in old age will affect everybody at some point. As people grow older, priorities change and the world seems to become a little smaller. However, it’s likely that you have a good social life, it’s just been spaced out more than you’d like. A diary is a great way to remember the plans you have coming up, and you can also find satisfaction in filling that diary up. For example, say you’re visiting a family member or friend but it’s not for a month. You’re anxious that you’re not going to have much contact outside of that visit.
Fill in the gaps by trying some new things. Obviously, start by checking out all the other great tips on our list, after that why not visit the cinema? Check out that local gallery opening? Is there an event in the park for children, why not pop down and enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy afternoon? Not religious? Head to the choir singing event anyway, it’ll be beautiful regardless! There are probably tons of local community events that you’re not aware of, pop them in the diary and see how quick that month will go! Check online (local government or tourism board websites are great for this), Facebook Events, local newspapers or magazines.
Volunteer to Overcome Senior Loneliness
Volunteering is a fantastic way to give back and is also a great way to tackle loneliness in old age – win-win. Giving back is an easy way to socialise, whether you’re handing out food to the homeless, helping out in a charity shop or working with others to organise an event. Whatever you’re mobility or free-time, there is always a worthy cause crying out for your help! Dealing with loneliness in old age can often be because you’re only focused on yourself – trying to help others is a great way to gain some perspective. Simply look online to see which local charities could do with some help.
Make a Furry Friend
It’s been scientifically proven that adopting an animal is good for your health, physical and mental. There have also been some studies that show people who own pets live longer than those that don’t. These studies have shown that dogs are the best pet to have if you’re feeling isolated. Dogs by nature are happy and energetic and they really rely on their owners, they become bonded in a way that pets like cats, rats or birds don’t. They’re truly the perfect remedy for dealing with loneliness in old age. Also, walking your dog is a great way to get outside and potentially meet new people. You could even join a group of dog walkers or take your dog to dog classes to improve their behaviour. Let’s not forget, coming home to a happy furry pal is really the best way to come home!
Remember to adopt don’t shop! There are lots of older dogs at shelters that require a bit more care and attention than most people can afford.
Learn and Socialise at the Same Time
One of the best practical tips for dealing with loneliness in old age is to challenge yourself and explore education again. Not only does this get your mind engaged but it’s also a great way to meet new people. Even if you don’t hang out outside the classroom (although study groups are a great way to maintain these relationships), inside the classroom lively debate can be great fun! Isn’t there something you’ve always wanted the opportunity to learn but never had the time? Sign up for a class today!
- The Penny Hoarder has a list of free college classes for seniors in every state.
Lots of of free time can seem like a blessing or a curse depending on what your mood is. If you feel like you’re in a rut, why not express some of those emotions creatively? Learning to paint or starting to write a book are probably activities most people wish they could do – if only they had some free time. These hobbies are a great way to reduce loneliness of seniors because they require lots of practice and planning. Check out some YouTube tutorials on learning to paint or how to start writing a book. Find some online resources to post your work and get feedback, join a local arts trail or a writers’ critique workshop. There are multiple ways of bettering yourself that can also bring you closer to others!
Come Out of Your Shell
Loneliness in old age isn’t something that happens suddenly, it’s a slow process and it’s something that will probably affect everyone at some stage. Why? Because unfortunately, society makes seniors or older people feel invisible sometimes, which can lead to confidence loss and isolation. So, how do you come out of your shell? One of the best ways is to start online dating.
Finding a new special someone isn’t the answer for everyone. Instead, it may be a combination of the practical tips we’ve mentioned to get you to come out of your shell. But, why not try some of them on a date as well? Meeting new people and thinking about what kind of person you’re presenting to the world is a great confidence builder. Which is why a specialised website like SilverSingles is the perfect choice to get you started. We only have over 50s on our site, we have a dedicated matchmaking system which means no searching for Mr. or Mrs Right – we bring them to you! We’ve also designed the site so even the least tech-savvy people can use it and our digital safety is second to none. Sign up for SilverSingles today and start chatting immediately.
Our practical tips for dealing with loneliness in old age is all to do with being proactive. In order to meet new people and try new things, you have to step outside your front door. If you’re finding it difficult to do that, or you think these steps are too big for you, then make sure you reach out to friends and family. Build up to some of these tips and instead focus on making time to see those closest to you. All your friends and family live in completely different places? Why not turn it into a road trip? That way you’re getting out and about but you’re seeing familiar faces! If they are too far away, organise lots of Skype dates and have a regular schedule to chat.
Remember to communicate with others if you’re feeling lonely and depressed, even if it’s difficult. It’s crucial that you have a support structure to lift you up if you’re feeling down. Once you’ve seen some near and dear friends, why not try out one of the other seven tips for dealing with loneliness in old age? We believe in you!