Combat social isolation with these five great ideas!
Does the senior in your life need a more vibrant community of friends? Encouraging socialization is an important aspect of senior care. Almost a quarter of seniors feel socially isolated, and loneliness can dramatically affect health and quality of life. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it. All of these activities can improve seniors’ quality of life—often in multiple ways.
Joining a walking group (or starting one)
Group exercise is a wonderful way to find community among peers, and walking together gives seniors lots of time to socialize. They can have engaging conversations along with fresh air and exercise. During COVID-19, seniors could walk together while maintaining social distance and masking.
Volunteering provides lots of opportunities for socializing and is immensely rewarding. Seniors will feel valued and appreciated for their efforts, which will give them a sense of purpose. Here are a few places seniors could volunteer:
- Helping at a food bank or with a food or clothing drive.
- Cleaning up parks and waterways with a local environmental group.
- Tutoring kids in an after-school program (or online).
- Helping at an animal shelter.
- Becoming a foster grandparent through Senior Corps.
Seniors will enjoy giving back to their community while enriching their own lives with new experiences!
Visiting a community center
Local senior centers or community centers that offer programs for seniors are wonderful places to visit regularly. They often provide a range of activities from arts and crafts to computer classes and even field trips. During COVID-19, many senior centers are offering online programs so seniors can still socialize while staying safe.
Reconnecting with old friends
Has the senior in your life drifted apart from old connections? Encourage them to rekindle meaningful friendships by catching up on the phone or Zoom or even writing a good old-fashioned letter. Reminiscing about their past with friends could strengthen their memory and sense of identity while growing a vibrant community.
Finding a club
A club that meets regularly around a shared interest will help seniors make new friends quickly. Here are just a few options:
- A gardening club
- A film buffs’ group
- A book club
Best of all, even during COVID-19, seniors can still meet over Zoom and discuss their interests. For example, in a film club, they can watch movies at the same time and discuss them afterward!
Talk with the senior in your life about these options, asking which ones sound most appealing to them. Consider going with them to try out a new activity the first time they go. It might make it easier for them to step into a new social situation!
Aging in Place, “How to Volunteer as a Senior”
CDC, “Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions”
Silver Sneakers, “10 Amazing Organizations That Need Your Help in 2019”