Fab Over Fifty, a UK-based website, revealed that the days of those over 60 becoming lonely and aging quickly is over. The site states that those over 60 are the “Why Not” generation. And new research by Camping in the Forest revealed that more and more people over 60 are embracing socializing and nights out. Not only is staying social fun, but making friends and staying social have other benefits. The Times reported that recent findings show that socializing at 60 can prevent dementia at 70. There are also strong links between friendships and other positive relationships and better mental health. So how can one maintain a healthy social life after 60? Here are some tips for making friends and having a robust social life!
If you haven’t already tried it, social media is a good starting point for making friends and staying connected to old friends. You have your choice of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or others. Social media also allows you to connect with people who have similar interests and discover new things around you, like community events. If you’re looking for a group to get started and get connected with, join the Prime Women Facebook Group!
Another way to meet people with similar interests is by pursuing a hobby and joining clubs, societies, and groups related to the hobby. You can find clubs near you online using sites like Meetup. If you would rather find groups in person, there are many options. For example, local libraries often have book clubs, farmer’s markets sometimes host gardening clubs or community gardens you can join, and local sporting goods stores often host walking or running clubs. If you enjoy crafts or knitting, check out the local shops to see if they have classes or set times when people meet up to knit and hang out together. You might be surprised at the opportunities that are available. And, besides meeting people, being part of a club is a reason to leave the house and can keep you motivated to stay active.
Whether volunteering at a church event, soup kitchen, or even helping out at a local school library, working and volunteering help keep you engaged with your community. They add purpose to the day and encourage interaction with new people. Volunteering also makes you feel like you are contributing to society by delivering lunch to the needy or home-bound or working with children and helping provide them with guidance and education. In the past, volunteering offered more flexibility, but these days you’ll find that with the vast amount of job openings available, you might have success getting exactly the schedule you want. Not only will a part-time job offer you social opportunities, but you’ll get the perk of a little extra money to spend or discounts on food or merchandise. Both extra cash and lower expenses are highly beneficial in today’s uncertain climate.
Don’t forget that some of the best interactions in life are with those closest to you! You can work to maintain social skills and strong relationships with your family. Start with phone calls to those furthest away, and for those nearby, try setting up regular visits for a meal or other activity everyone would enjoy. Weekly dinners or brunches together (instead of just meeting up for the holidays) can offer you an excellent outlet for socializing while keeping in touch with each other. This is also a good chance to ensure that your loved ones are doing well and don’t need additional assistance or are beginning to struggle with daily tasks.
Don’t rule out possible friends because you don’t seem to have any similarities. It may seem like you wouldn’t have anything in common with a 20-something or someone with different life experiences, but if you have joined any interest group, either in-person or online, you already have something in common! Rather than focus on your differences, focus on what you have in common — whether it’s a love of crafts or a desire to help your community. What brings people together is stronger than surface differences.
Maintaining a household and staying active might get more difficult as one gets older. It can also get incredibly lonely. However, a great option to keep an active social life is living in a community. Community living offers a variety of scheduled programs, events, and outings within walking distance. Activities are also modified, and the necessary precautions are taken to ensure that age will not hinder participation. Communities aim to create engagement between residents, thus nurturing social connections.
If you find that independent living and the routine tasks that go with it get harder each day, you might consider moving into a retirement facility. You’ll find that most offer activities, outings, and meal options that will give you social options without cooking or cleaning up.