After years in the workforce and raising a family, the full house empties and the schedules dwindle for the senior population. And, many times, without scheduled activities, a vibrant group of friends, and a social scene, aging adults are left feeling isolated and lonely. Thus, establishing community is ever so important. So, where does one find community?
- Shared Housing: Certainly community is all a part of the plan when aging adults move into specifically designed senior housing developments. Most often individuals or couples will dwell in their own space, but will have the option (and sometimes obligation) for community meals, socials, games, and activities. While seniors who are “newer” to the social scene may feel resistant at first, research shows a longer lifespan, greater levels of happiness and satisfaction, as well as overall improved health when living in a situation with regular peer social interaction.
- Senior Centers: If you or an aging friend or family member is elderly but still living independently, a great way to create social connections is at the local senior center. These free centers are full of life and community, and offer a variety of classes and activities to ensure a full calendar for attendees. Sewing, computing, foreign languages, Bingo, and shopping outings are popular across the country, and most centers offer shuttle services for the folks who may no longer be able to drive, or are located along public transportation routes.
- Exercise Class: That’s right, water aerobics just became all the more appealing. Not only is exercise good for the heart physically, the social aspects of community involvement through movement can be life-changing. The happiness index of seniors who exercise often and with others is through the roof when compared to that of those who don’t. Even more, serious companionships are created when the blood gets flowing and the sweat begins to drip!
- Libraries: Just like at the senior centers in town, local public libraries offer a variety of classes for free and generate a great deal of social interaction. And, a really great asset of attending library events is that they often include many different age demographics, which means creating an even greater social sphere of influence. This is fun for everyone!
Community involvement and social engagement is important for all people of all ages, particularly for seniors and the aging populations. Luckily, resources abound for retired adults to become involved with others and meet new people.