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Loneliness is one of the fastest-growing problems of our time, especially in older adults. Your house was probably once a lively place, with children running around and people coming and going. However, everybody has grown up, moved away, and has their own lives. Unfortunately, this loneliness raises the risk of health issues such as dementia and heart disease, depression, and anxiety. On the contrary, social interaction is like a magic pill for preventing depression and dementia. Therefore, we decided to dedicate this article to how older adults can overcome loneliness. We know it seems impossible, but there are a few tricks you can try and improve the quality of your life. So, let's see what they are!
Find a hobby
It's 2022, and opportunities for activities are endless. From painting, crocheting, and scrapbooking to fly fishing, sculpting, learning a language, and joining a book club!
The sky's your limit here. With so many alternatives, you're bound to discover something that piques your curiosity. Not only will you be exercising your brain by learning and practicing an activity, but you will also be able to interact with people who share your passion. Fortunately, face-to-face activities and interactions are back on the table, so you'll be able to enjoy all this in person!
Therefore, if you wonder how older adults can overcome loneliness, finding a new hobby is one of the top answers. So, what is one thing you always wanted to do but never got to do? Now's the perfect time to try it.
Get a pet
Having a pet can be therapeutic in more ways than one. Bonding with an animal causes a chemical chain reaction in the brain that reduces the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol levels while raising the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. As a result, pulse rate, blood pressure, and stress levels instantly decrease.
Long-term relationships between pets and humans can reduce cholesterol and battle depression. In addition, it may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.
Therefore, having a furry friend in your home can help you fight loneliness. Even if your pet cannot talk, they can make you happy in other ways. And just you talking to them about your day will help you feel less lonely.
Just make sure you adopt a pet that suits your lifestyle, mobility, and energy. For example, if you want a dog but can't be very active, adopt one that doesn't need to be outside as much.
Move to a senior living community
Socialization improves health and well-being in senior living communities. It's more difficult to be lonely when neighbors, friends, and caregivers surround you. This is the case whether you live in a senior living facility or a neighborhood with a large population of older adults.
During the height of the coronavirus epidemic, numerous senior living homes were obliged to curtail activities to keep older persons safe. Now that the pandemic is practically over, most communities are establishing a "new normal" that includes a great deal of social engagement.
In fact, most independent and assisted living complexes are reintroducing amenities such as fine dining, weekly happy hours, and various types of social gatherings. To overcome loneliness in older adults, numerous communities provide transportation to nearby malls and theaters. Furthermore, outdoor activities such as gardening and tai chi are extremely popular. Oh, and don't forget monthly and yearly residential events organized within these communities!
Therefore, moving to this type of community can be highly beneficial. This is precisely how older adults can overcome loneliness. Fortunately, Michigan is full of places like this. So, if you decide to make this step, contact someone who can assist you find help with ease. There are many long-distance moving companies in Michigan, so make sure you find the one that will do everything to make your relocation as trouble-free as possible!
Stay in touch with your family
While all this new technology can be scary for older adults, it's also of utmost importance for staying in touch with your loved ones. In fact, many older adults already use FaceTime or voice-activated gadgets like Alexa to connect with their friends and family. And why not when this is a legit way to stay in touch with people you don't see every day but want to have any interaction with them?! Cell phones for talking with friends, tablets for video-chatting with grandkids, and virtual home assistants may help older adults interact, connect, and fight loneliness.
And the best thing? Everything's a click away from you! No matter who you want to call, text, or video chat with, all you have to do is click on the app you wish to use and let the magic happen. Of course, nothing beats face-to-face interaction, but this is a great way to interact with your loved ones daily, especially if they live far away.
Besides social media, many online community services are made to help older adults.
For example, Virtual Senior Center and 65+ chat rooms may be fantastic sites for seniors to meet new friends, vent about their problems, and learn to use new technologies without leaving their homes. The Internet is a magical place; you'll find everything you need if you dig a little deeper. So, do it! Don't be afraid to use it.
Volunteer in your community
Last but not least - volunteering. Volunteering is an excellent opportunity to keep your mind occupied while meeting new people and helping others. Fortunately, volunteering opportunities are practically endless, from teaching youngsters to read and communal gardening to working as a docent at local art museums. These are all fun possibilities for older adults who are still mobile. In addition, many local service and charity organizations also provide options for seniors. So, don't hesitate to contact them and ask what positions are available. Helping others is a terrific opportunity to give back to the community while also reminding yourself that you have a lot to contribute even later in life.
Yes, loneliness is a nasty problem that affects your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. So, the question is how older adults can overcome loneliness. While it may seem like there is no way out of this situation and overall feeling, you can see that there are many ways you can connect, interact, and engage. If there is one key takeaway from this article, it's that social interaction is the medicine for loneliness.
Therefore, try and socialize as much as you can. Move to a suitable community, adopt a pet, stay in touch via technology, volunteer, etc. Do whatever makes you happy, and keep yourself busy and surrounded by your loved ones.