As we age, our experiences change. Some we prepare for while others are completely unexpected. Moments of forgetfulness, muscle weakness or unsteadiness on our feet may begin to appear. Though these slight changes creep up on us there’s one experience many seniors don’t realize has entered their once busy and active life: loneliness.
One slight, but possibly harmful change for our connectedness is the reduction in mobility which can lead to less social interaction. Add to that financial limitations or the inaccessibility of transportation and there is a great risk of isolation. Isolation can lead to mental health problems like depression, anxiety and addictions. Physical ailments have been linked to loneliness too: high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, lack of mental focus and a weakened immune system.
What are some steps we can take to defend against the feelings of loneliness and be healthy well into our senior years?
Build connections by meeting new people: join clubs, go to church, attend a group exercise, take noncredit classes at the local community college to learn about new topics, or volunteer in your community. If you are interested in volunteering, check out VolunteerMatch.org where you can view and sign up for opportunities by age, ability and type of work.
We’re never too old to learn a new trick. Start learning a few now!
Catherine Camp, Senior Placement Specialist