Many people are concerned that once they reach retirement, the social life they enjoyed will taper off. Though loneliness in older adults is a serious and ongoing problem, it does not apply to every individual and there are many ways people can retain an active and healthy social life as they get older.
Lots of this can be about maintaining old friendships, however, those looking to move or make new friends can struggle to build lasting connections or even to meet people. Whether you are looking to expand your circle of friends, there are lots of things you should consider.
Once upon a time, this would have been a pub, however, as attitudes change, so does the local watering hole. Finding a local coffee shop or tea room that is the hub of the community is an easy way to meet others in your area.
Many local businesses that act as the focal point to the community will often also host other events that encourage people to get to know one another. Whether this is charitable work, learning a new skill or discussing a hobby, it is a great place to start.
What better way to meet like-minded people than to bond over a favourite hobby, sport or pastime? There are so many clubs that meet up regularly that there should be no difficulty finding one that fits your schedule and piques your interest.
Did you have a skill when you were younger that has fallen by the wayside? Perhaps you became too busy to pursue it further or life simply got in the way. Now is the perfect time to reach into your community and find others who share your passion.
For those who consider themselves wordsmiths, a writing club could be the perfect club. Having a creative outlet for some people is key to a contented life while meeting with others can lend inspiration. Alison from the Bristol-based Write Club believes it is a perfect platform for everyone:
“Age is no barrier to creativity and we love hearing stories from everyone who joins us. We have several different sorts of offerings for people to experience. Our Ideas Generator sessions are perfect for people who haven't written for a while or who want to inject some new life into ongoing writing projects.
“We offer stimulus activities that are sometimes drama based and other times discussion based, and then give participants a choice of three prompts to initiate their writing. They write to a time limit (between 8-12 minutes) and then share their new words with the group. We celebrate the stories and pick out words and phrases from each other’s' work to form a collaborative poem at the end.”
Some people find their creativity is best served through painting and there are clubs that cater to those who would rather express themselves through colour. Liz is attached to the Maidenhead Painting Club and understands the value of the weekly events:
“The Maidenhead Painting Club run a class on a pay as you go system, which really works well. Some arrive late, others start early and leave early, but it all seems to work well. The age range is between 60 and 90 +. The Membership fee is £15 a year.
“Many of us have lost a partner, and it is good to get together and make friends, do something we like doing, however good or mediocre that might be.
“The Club takes beginners willing to learn, or those who have spent a lifetime drawing and painting, and are happy to share ideas and techniques with others. There is usually a set theme or subject demonstrated at the beginning of each class to get everyone started.
“The Club also organises other booked in advance classes, and a portrait class, Demos, a Dinner, exhibitions, and a Social evening.”
Remaining active as you get older is important for both physical and mental wellbeing. Regardless of your current mobility, there is always something you can be doing to encourage activity. Even those who use a home stairlift can continue to approach exercise with a positive attitude. Not only do classes offer the multitude of health benefits, but there is also the social element that may not be prevalent through the duration of the class, but instead before and after each session.
Genny Wilkinson Priest is a Yoga Manager from Triyoga that operates in London. She believes that chair yoga is the way forward for older adults:
“Chair Yoga is a great way for the elderly to practice yoga in a gentle, accessible way.
“As a personal aside, my 82-year-old mother would get severe vertigo that lasted for weeks when she practised a traditional yoga class that included downward dog – a mini inversion where the head is below the heart. She refused to go back to class until I introduced her to Chair Yoga, which is perfect for her. The class is taught seated in a chair and a teacher like Kieran modifies traditional yoga postures in such a way that includes everyone whether they are older, injured or recovering from a recent illness.”
“An even greater benefit is the community aspect of these classes that draws people together.”
With a busy social life comes a lot of things to remember. Whether it is a coffee date with a friend or a weekly photography session, you don’t want to miss it because you forgot. Keeping on top of your hobbies and social calendar will ensure you are not stressed out by all the activities and therefore will enjoy them. Being organised also allows you to be flexible, so if someone invites you to coffee after a class, you know whether or not you can attend.
If you have a smartphone, setting calendar updates can keep you informed on the move. Those who lack the technology can enjoy an organised schedule with the aid of a diary.
This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.