For People 65 and Older, Loneliness Is 1 of the Greatest Dangers: Here’s How to Combat It

Loneliness is one of the biggest challenges of senior living. The risks associated with being lonely are very serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it can be easily managed in a lot of fun and interesting ways. Take a look at these 15 ways to combat loneliness in your golden years. Heck, you will enjoy these in your 20’s as well.

1. Go back to school!

Older women in a class room

Learning something new is fun and challenging. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

It’s never too late to learn more about a subject you’re interested in. Senior citizens all around the world are taking classes at colleges as a way to keep their mind sharp. It also helps bolster human interaction, which is really important for combating degenerative issues like dementia.

Because of cultural and economic shifts in Thailand, the elderly there have found going back to school to be very rewarding.

Next: This is another great way to get out and talk with people.

2. Join a gardening group

Gardener taking care of her plants

Why not share your knowledge and learn more? | Ivanko_Brnjakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Diet and exercise are very important to a long and happy life, but so is being social. Gardening groups are a great way to target all three of these healthy habits. Not to mention, you’re going to save a ton on produce every year by growing your own.

Next: If you have ever wanted to feel a little more fulfilled, this is another great way to do that.

3. Volunteer

Happy family volunteer smiling at camera

Get out and make a difference. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

If you have ever felt the need to give back to the community, volunteering is a great way to do that. You are going to get some exercise and talk with people, which is really a win-win. Plus, at the end of the day, you get to feel really good about helping other people and yourself.

Next: Maybe getting out isn’t your favorite thing. Well, here’s an awesome alternative.

4. Join a book club

Group Of Women Meeting For Book Group

This is a great way to make friends and socialize. | MachineHeadz/Getty images

Books are amazing devices. They exercise your brain in so many ways and can transport you to faraway places inside the comfort of your living room. This is an awesome way to combat the rigors of time and stave off the threat of dementia. Joining a book club only adds to the benefit of getting you chatting with people.

Next: This is a great opportunity to start a new friendship!

5. Make a pen pal

Queen Elizabeth Signing a letter

Get inspiration from the queen and try writing letters. | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Writing letters these days is so old fashion, but it is one of the most personal forms of communication. Many senior citizens are reaching out all over to create a pen pal. It has been doing wonders for those seeking new friendships.

Next: There’s no reason you shouldn’t have some fun with some competition peppered in.

6. Join a league

Lawn Bowler playing his shot

Leagues can be a lot of fun. | stanfair/Getty Images

Seniors all over the country have created leagues ranging from bowling to baseball. Having the spirit of competition keeps the American spirit alive and well. These leagues are great ways to stay active and social. The lack of those things is extremely dangerous for people over the age of 65.

Next: Maybe your mobility isn’t what it used to be.

7. Have a weekly card night

Group of seniors playing cards

This is a great way to break up the week. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

As we age, our body just begins to break down or it makes our glory year’s injuries that much worse. Either way, not all of us are mobile enough for active sports. That’s perfectly alright. Card nights are a great way to remain competitive, be social, and sharpen your mind. Plus it’s really fun to win all of your friend’s money if you up the anti make it a poker night.

Next: How much did you like making stuff when you were younger but never had time for after that?

8. Start a crafts group

Senior Female Friends Knitting At Home Together

Learn something new and share your knowledge with others, all at once!| MachineHeadz/Getty Images

Arts and crafts were one of our all-time favorite classes growing, but the demands of adulthood didn’t provide us with a lot of time to enjoy them. But when you get to your retirement age, there is nothing but time to fill. Creating things is so fulfilling and so much fun. As an added bonus, you also get the opportunity to make a bunch of friends or connect with old ones.

Next: Here’s a great way to get your grandkids to come and visit you.

9. Start playing video games

Boy playing video games with his grandparents

Believe it or not, this can be fun. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Beleive it or not, video games are one of the best ways to fight all different forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s. Having the mind process all that information and use so much dexterity is great for keeping the mind sharp. In fact, video games may actually rejuvenate the mind of an elderly person.

The grandkids will be great at helping you learn new games and you get to bond with them more. Even if they live a few states away, you can still play with them online and chat them up all day. Just make sure it’s okay with their mother.

Next: Have you ever want to sing, but didn’t have the time?

10. Join a choir

Senior Women Singing In Choir Together

This is a wonderful way to share your talents. | Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

A choir is singing’s most beautiful form. The beauty of its harmony can be overpowering and emotional all at the same time. It’s also great when you’re in the choir because if you miss a note, there are a bunch of other people to cover your tracks.

They are also really fun and get you out of the house. You will make some great friends along the way.

Next: Traveling is the best part of retirement, so you might as well do it right.

11. Learn a new language

elder lady in a class

It will challenge you and provide you with new life skills. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

This builds on the idea of going back to school but has so many more benefits. In the short term, you are going to be in a class interacting with other people. In the long term, you can use those skills to go abroad and explore this wonderful world. Retirement is supposed to be all about those opportunities and it makes them so much better when you know another language.

Next: If you’re religious, don’t ever stop doing this.

12. Keep attending your place of worship

Minister Giving Sermon in Church

Religion is more important than you might think. | IPGGutenbergUKLtd/Getty Images

Attending church can lower your mortality rate. Nicholas R. Nicholson of the School of Nursing at Quinnipiac University says, “those frequently attending religious services have been found to have lower mortality rates than those with infrequent attendance.” Your place of worship is an excellent tool to get out and interact with friends.

Next: This is a fun activity to do and can relieve a lot of stress.

13. Start swimming

Smiling senior women in pool

This is a great, low-impact workout. | Jupiterimages/Getty Images

The physical benefits of swimming are incredible. You’ll be more flexible, you’ll improve your heart health, improves muscle strength, and helps your mental health. Those benefits alone will help you do anything else on this list. If you end up joining a competitive league, then you will also have a little bit of purpose which can go a long way in combating loneliness.

Next: Can’t hang out with people very long? Do this one thing.

14. Get a pet (preferably a dog)

owner petting his dog, while he is sleeping or resting with closed eyes

Dogs make wonderful companions. | Damedeeso/iStock/Getty Images

Taking care of things is very rewarding. If you are caring for an animal, you may as well care for one that will love you back. That’s why we recommend a dog. But having any animal is still really rewarding.

“Pet owners remain engaged socially, have less depression, suffer less loneliness, feel more secure, have more motivation for constructive use of time and require less medication than non-pet owners. Animal companionship facilitates establishing friends, is a social lubricant, gives a reason to get up in the morning and is an icebreaker.” Eve Beals ~ Emotional Benefits of Having a Dog

Nevertheless, cats can be cool too, you know if you like short spans of attention and malignant indifference.

Next: Looking out for those around you can be just as important as looking out for yourself.

15. Comfort those in pain

Woman holding dying husband's hand

Give friends and family support. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

It’s no secret that our loved ones will pass away, especially when we have reached our twilight years. These losses can be overwhelming and make us retreat into seclusion. If you ever have a person you know going through that, reach out to them. Don’t take no for an answer and spend time with them. It will help them grieve better and prevent them from withdrawing.

Later on, they may be the one to help you or your loved one out when you need them most.

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