Easy Ways to Hack Your Social Schedule
Do you ever feel lonely? Isolation can threaten both your physical and mental health. According to the National Institute on Aging, people often become more vulnerable to social isolation as they age. Loneliness can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems. It may even increase your risk of death.
The good news is that you’re not alone. If you’re feeling lonely, know that there are many other people who feel the same way. There are also a number of ways to get out there are meet people.
If your children and grandchildren are on social media, this may be a great way for you to stay in touch with them. The internet can also provide you with ways to meet new people. But watch out. According to CNBC, the Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index found that people who use social media more frequently actually report a greater feeling of loneliness.
Online interactions can feel superficial, and the carefully cultivated nature of social media feeds can make it seem as if everyone else if having a better time that you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the internet. In fact, a different study, this one published in the Journal of Gerontology, found that seniors who used information and communication technology to stay in touch with family and friends reported better wellbeing.
Use social media only in a way that makes you happy, and try to meet people face to face, as well.
Join a Club
Joining a club is a great way to meet people who have the same interests as you. This could be a book club, a walking club, a photography club – whatever you enjoy.
To find clubs, check your local library and community center. You can also use online resources, such as Meetup.com, to find groups that meet in your area.
Take a Class
Have you always wished you could play an instrument or paint? It’s never to late to learn. Once again, you may be able to find classes through your library or community center. If you want to learn something new and get in shape, see what classes are available at gyms near you.
You can also check out the local colleges and universities. You don’t have to get a degree. In fact, you may be able to audit a class for free. Be sure to ask about discounts and other programs for seniors.
Volunteering is a great way to meet people while contributing to a cause that matters to you. There are many programs to consider, such as the Foster Grandparents Program.
Look for opportunities that match your skills and passions. For example, if you care about animals, you could volunteer at a shelter. If you’re a retired teacher, you could volunteer as a tutor. If you want to get outside, considering volunteering with the National Park Service.
Find Your Match
There’s no upper age limit for dating. Seniors can join regular dating sites, or they can participate in dating sites designed specifically for seniors.
If online dating services aren’t your style, you can also look for local opportunities. Senior speed dating, for example, is a popular way for older adults to meet potential matches.
Talk to People
Many people feel lonely, and they’d love for someone to talk to them. As you participate in various social activities, don’t be shy about striking up a conversation.