Occasional bouts of loneliness and feelings of isolation are a natural part of life and a common challenge that arises with aging. In fact, experiencing lonesomeness as you get older is completely understandable. Perhaps members of your immediate family leave town and move away, or close lifelong friends pass on. Feelings of forlornness are a normal reaction to circumstances such as these, but you don’t have to let loneliness become so pervasive that it begins to consume your daily life. There are many things you can do to keep feelings of social rejection and isolation at bay and keep your life fulfilling as you age. Take a look at some ways to reduce loneliness in yourself and help others experiencing it as well.
Many people express themselves through artistic endeavors when they’re young, and as they get older, life becomes busier and other priorities more demanding. Oftentimes, you can lose touch with your creative side along the way and even forget that there is a creative side of you altogether. Retirement is a fantastic time to reconnect with these inventive avenues in your mind and indulge in creative pursuits that keep your hands busy and brain exercised.
Consider things such as writing poetry, making a scrapbook, taking an art class, revisiting an instrument you used to play or even simply attending a theatrical production. These are great emotional outlets that can revitalize your inner artist and add fullness to your daily quality of life.
There’s no better antidote for a case of the blues than good food and company. A dinner club can be a fun and wholesome method of socialization. Start by getting an intimate group of friends together and arranging a weekly dinner engagement that works with everybody’s individual schedule. Each week, you and the other members of the club take turns hosting, alternating who is responsible for feeding the rest of the group this week. Delicious food and quality, laughter-filled conversation is an incontestable remedy for feelings of isolation.
In an assisted living community, you can turn dinner club into "dining out" together in the community's dining room. Or you can take turns hosting snacks and games or movie night in your assisted living apartment.
A pet can be the perfect addition to your retirement life. A dog, cat or even a bird or chinchilla can contribute a sense of purpose to your day and instill you with a sense of fulfillment and companionship. The love a pet brings into a household is unconditional and all-inclusive.
Dogs are an especially popular choice among older adults because their friendly and adventurous dispositions can add even more delight to a retirement trip or even just around the house on a daily basis. Regardless of the kind of pet you may choose, however, caring for one can be a big responsibility. Be sure to evaluate your own needs and lifestyle beforehand to understand how capable you are of taking care of a pet and what type of fluffy companion would be the best fit for you.
Looking into great volunteering opportunities in your local area is a brilliant way of making the most of your day-to-day life. During your retirement, you may have the unique chance to join nonprofit groups or charity causes in your community that you didn’t have time for in your working years. The sense of inner joy and gratification that comes from contributing to a good cause in your neighborhood or town — or helping a special event or activity to come to fruition — is a unique kind of satisfaction that you can’t quite get from anything else.
You can offer your energy, talents and effort to your surrounding community in so many ways. From helping to plan a parade or other celebratory event to working at a polling center during an election to becoming active in your HOA or at the local public library, any form of volunteer work can be mutually beneficial both to your local area and your own personal health.
There is a plethora of volunteering opportunities around the Fort Collins area and near the Collinwood assisted living community. Take time to look into the Fort Collins Volunteer Program and the numerous services it provides that you can get involved in.
If you know someone who’s exhibiting outward signs of loneliness, isolation or depression, one of the best things you can do to show them love and support is simply make yourself available for them. Go out of the way to visit them regularly or call them as often as you can and reassure them there is still somebody who regularly thinks about them and cares about how they’re doing. Be a dependable listening ear to them, but don’t try to force them to talk about anything they may not be ready to talk about. Just be open to them and as present as possible for them. Invite them to things you think they may find interesting and become someone they know they can truly rely upon.
Loneliness doesn’t have to be a staple of aging. Knowing the opportunities and resources around you can help you find and implement new hobbies and relationships into your day-to-day routine. You always have the power to take any new path that interests you and improve the quality your life.
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