Numerous studies show that relationships and strong social ties improve physical, emotional, and mental health in aging and may prolong the lifespan, and here are ten ways to make human connections for wise and healthy aging.
Retirement can be lonely when you lose contact with the people you’re used to seeing every day. So, make sure those friendships that you value from your career are nurtured before you retire and make time for the friends you made outside of your work, too.
- A great way to avoid loneliness and isolation in your later years is to build healthy and strong relationships with your grandchildren and children. There’s nothing better than spending time with the people that bring out the best in you.
- Book clubs are a relaxed way to share your thoughts and meet people if you have social anxiety. Often, book clubs are intimate and quiet which gives everyone an opportunity to get to know one another.
- Sunday dinner has been a memorable event for families everywhere. Continue that tradition by cooking your own Sunday dinner and inviting friends and family over.
- What better protection against loneliness and the side effects of aging than a happy, stable relationship? Whether you’re married or simply live with your partner, keep that connection strong and healthy.
- Find a group that meets at least once a week – whether it’s volunteering, attending a community class or even a religious service. It provides you with an opportunity to socialize and beat loneliness. Think about what activities and interests you have and look for community groups that fit.
- A lot of retirees think that moving to the mountains or closer to the beach is the perfect way to retire. That’s all well and good, but it means leaving your friends and family behind. That can lead you to loneliness and isolation. You’re better off staying put unless you are moving to get closer to your social network and loved ones.
- When you do spend time with others you should be fully present. Pay attention to the words they’re saying, as well as their nonverbal cues. Turn off your phone, make eye contact, actively listen, ask questions, and just get to know people.
- Don’t be afraid to share yourself with others – you have beliefs, talents, and ideas and if you want to engage people who share those, you have to share them first.
- The great thing about a singles group is that everyone in attendance has a story. The similarities between why they joined and what they are looking for are great conversation starters. You never know, you may even connect with your future soulmate!
- Pick up the phone. Living in an age where texting is so easy, we often forget the beauty of actually calling someone on the telephone. Through text, reactions, tone, and other social cues are often missed. This creates distance as well as misunderstandings.