Those of us who are recently retired may miss the social interaction we had during our working life. Retirement offers freedom from having to work, but often loneliness may creep in. It is important to stay social, not only to prevent boredom but for your health as well. According to a study conducted at Brigham-Young University, loneliness and isolation can have a bigger impact on your life span than obesity!
The best way to avoid loneliness and isolation is to become part of a retirement community. When you are a member of a community, you are surrounded by others who are in the same age group, have similar interests and quite possibly have similar health issues as you. Introduce yourself to new residents and be open to making new friends.
Here are five tips to keep your mind fresh and your body healthy by staying social.
- Take group walks with your neighbors. Walking is great exercise which will keep your heart healthy, and can be done anywhere, anytime, no matter what your fitness level is. You can walk briskly, if you are in shape to do so, or you can walk more leisurely, and spend the time catching up with your friends and admiring the view. In any case, it is time well spent.
- Play games, such as Bingo or mahjong. When you stimulate your brain regularly, you are not just having fun – but are also preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s. So go ahead and challenge your next door neighbor a younger family member to a game of chess. It’s a win-win situation.
- There is safety in numbers. As we get older, we tend to lose our balance and are prone to falling. This is particularly dangerous when we are alone. Having an active social life will ensure that you are not alone as much and that if you do fall, a friend or neighbor can immediately call for help.
- Exchange of information. Since your neighbors are in the same age range as you, many of them may have similar health issues. It helps to share your concerns with those who’ve had similar experiences and benefit from the knowledge they’ve picked up over the months or years.
- Consider joining or starting a book club – this will allow you to benefit from the mental stimulation of processing your reading material, and the social aspect of discussing the plot with your book club members