Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recent advisory to the public was that social isolation is linked to an increased risk of death and impending dementia. “Social isolation is as dangerous to your as smoking 15 cigarettes a day “. Socialization is crucial for our well-being, promoting mental, emotional, and physical health.
Here are some ways to customize your socialization strategies based on your interests and comfort levels. Make the effort. Try one a week. Just Do!
- Volunteer Work: Volunteering is a great way to stay active and connected with others. Many organizations welcome the skills and experience that seniors bring, and it will provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
- Stay in Touch with Family: Maintain regular communication with your extended family and friends. This could involve regular phone calls, visits, or just a hand written note.
- Adapt Your Physical Ability. Stay as active as possible. Joining group exercise classes, such as yoga, tai chi, or water aerobics, not only promotes physical health but also provides opportunities for social interaction. The before and after times are important to “let’s have coffee”. Keep Moving!
- Neighborhood Gatherings: Arrange informal gatherings with friends or neighbors for coffee or tea. These low-key settings often lead to relaxed and enjoyable conversations and help you find connections. If someone new moves in invite them. Be the neighborhood greeter.
- Hobby or Interest Groups: Pursuing your hobbies or interests within a group setting can lead to meaningful connections. Whether it’s a book club, sewing, knitting, gardening group, or art class, shared activities will foster friendships. Teaching anyone else gives you extra credit.
- Religious or Spiritual Activities: Attending religious or spiritual services will provide a sense of community and opportunities to socialize with like-minded individuals.
- Technology: Embrace technology. Look for opportunities to learn how to stay connected. Video calls, social media, and messaging apps enable communication will allow you to stay in touch with grandchildren and distant family.
- Attend Social Events: Just say “YES” in participation in any social events like community fairs, cultural festivals, or local gatherings. These events will bring people together and create opportunities for casual conversations.
It’s important to consider your individual preferences and abilities. Make a PLAN for customizing socialization strategies based on your physical ability, interests and comfort levels. It WILL enhance your overall engagement in life and benefit your mental, emotional, and physical health. Just DO, don’t just Be!