Loneliness has a large presence amongst the older generations. It is evident that many elderly people are without sufficient company or socialising opportunities. In fact, 43 per cent of those aged 60 and above live alone while half of older people consider their TV as their biggest source of company.
However, there are numerous ways to avoid this sad existence and we will explore some of these in this article.
Although retirement is supposed to be a break from work, this can also be a dangerously sudden change. Swapping from working five days a week to zero, although being amazing for the first month, can often lead to boredom and loneliness. Volunteering or a part time job could be an answer to this. You get to meet new people through volunteering, often in a similar age range to you. It is also a good way to fend off dementia and other illnesses, whilst also supporting the local community or a charity.
Making regular plans to meet up with friends is essential to avoiding feelings of loneliness. Doing this regularly is the best way to feel companionship. A weekly or fortnightly event or meal is enough to keep all involved from feeling alone, while also furthering their relationships. If done in groups than each can take turns to host for a meal of plan the event. If you have few friends or want to meet some new ones, there are many opportunities to do so. Take a look at any local clubs in your area or use sites like meetup.com in order to find events and groups to join.
Joining a club or a group is the best way to avoid feeling lonely. With most running weekly, it is a great way to make and see friends regularly, so there are fewer periods of loneliness. Let’s see some of the best types of clubs to join:
For any person who enjoys sitting and making, an arts and crafts club could be for you. Whether you’re shy or outgoing, this is a good place for you, allowing focus on the crafts or on the social aspect. Arts and crafts clubs can cover a wide variety of activities, such as making antique jewellery with a personal touch, sewing or painting the night away.
Whether you do or don’t currently know how to swim, these sessions held at most pools gives an opportunity to meet and make friends weekly, as well as keeping fit. These are two essentials for anyone in old age!
If swimming isn’t appealing to you, there are many other sports and activities that will keep you moving and socialising. These include popular choices such as golf and bowls, as they can be done with groups of friends or others at the club.
Exactly what it sounds like — a group who meetup weekly to share lunch and chat! A lunch club encourages conversation over various topics, such as hobbies, politics, or even your new favourite book!
The choir is a place to sing and see friends — what more could you ask for? Choirs are great places to socialise, with most having out-of-hour socials and events. Often church-based, there are many other activities and volunteering opportunities within the church, especially for the elderly.
A dog is not just a loving companion in the home. A dog also allows for access to dog owner clubs and on-the-street encounters. Being in the house will be less lonely with a pet, but even strolls to the shop will have more socialising opportunities with a dog. People are much more likely to stop for a chat if you have a dog, as it is such an easy conversation starter.
If the pressure of owning and caring for a dog is too much, then try doing some dog walking as a job or hobby instead. It would have similar effects, especially as it will allow for friend-making with the owner and those encountered on the streets.
How does growing vegetables stop feelings of loneliness? It’s actually the interaction with the other owners and farmers rather than the actual growing. The allotment gives a necessity to leave the house to care for the vegetables. In doing so, there are opportunities to meet with the other farmers for a cup of tea and chat. There are also the added benefits of regular exercise from digging topsoil and lifting growbags and watering cans. Allotments often require two or three visits each week.
There are plenty of social activities for the elderly to partake in. It’s just about spreading the word and getting involved. Don’t feel nervous about asking to join a new group or ask friends to meet up — it is likely they are in the same situation of feeling lonely too. Together, you can help each other!