Older people are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation – and it can have a serious effect on health. But there are ways to overcome loneliness, even if you live alone and find it hard to get out. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are lonely and cut off from society in this country, especially those over the age of 75.
According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. People can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, such as getting older or weaker, no longer being the hub of their family, leaving the workplace, the deaths of spouses and friends, or through disability or illness.
Whatever the cause, it's shockingly easy to be left feeling alone and vulnerable, which can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing. Someone who's lonely probably also finds it hard to reach out. There's a stigma surrounding loneliness, and older people tend not to ask for help because they have too much pride.
You do not have to isolation and loneliness consume you. You can change your life for the better and give yourself the positive mindset and attitude that you deserve to have. There are many things you can do to keep social isolation at bay and avoid loneliness and isolation as you age. Dealing with loneliness is easier to do than you might think when you look at what activities and habits you can get yourself into. It's important to remember loneliness can – and does – affect anyone, of any age.Here are ways for older people to connect with others, and feel useful and appreciated again.
Grab every chance to smile at others or begin a conversation – for instance, with the cashier at the shop or the person sitting next to you in train. If you're shy or not sure what to say, try asking people about themselves.Explore Things Around You
To avoid social isolation and improve your health and well-being: get out and see more things where you are. You might get out to a local park or shopping center or even to a nice city block. You could take a trip out to another city or even a country that you have never been to before.
Whatever the case is, you should look around and see what is out there for you to visit. Feel free meet up with other older people to take a look at what is around in the world and what makes it so special. Anything that helps you feel a little more connected to the world around you is always worthwhile. Even the smallest social experience can make a difference and avoid loneliness and depression.
Think about the places that you might want to go to and see what you can do about getting there. You should also think about any activities that you might be interested in as you travel to a new place.Focus On Your Health
One of the greatest problems with isolation and loneliness is that it causes people to ignore their health and well-being—both physical and psychological well-being. Lonely people often feel as though no one has a concern for them, thus leading such people to drink, smoke, and eat unhealthy food.
In addition to keeping yourself active, concentrating on your health can help you to meet other people. You could get out to a gym or park and meet other health-conscious people who share similar goals as you. You might even meet people at an organic supermarket or other healthy living store.
One great part of being healthy is that it stimulates your brain. This keeps it active and feeling young. More importantly, your brain will start to release hormones that make you feel positive about yourself. As these hormones start to work, you will feel more positive and in more control over your body. This gives you the energy you need to stay focused and ready for whatever may come about in your life.Be More Creative
Many people like to be creative as they get older. Whether it entails writing books, performing music, or painting art, creativity is something that makes the mind happier. This is one part of dealing with loneliness that many seniors enjoy.
A creative person is always someone who thinks more about the many great things one can do. The sky is the limit when it comes to unique things and activities worth trying out.You should consider being a little more creative in your life too. You could attend an art or music class where you can learn how to play an instrument or how many key principles of artwork. Maybe you could attend a writing class where you can learn from a professional writer about how to produce your work narrative works of art.
The best part of being creative is that you will always be challenging yourself to think about what you can do when trying to produce appealing and distinct works of art. You can do anything you want so long as you put your mind to it.Be Appreciative
As people age, they start to think about what they have done with their lives. They start to wonder if they have done things right. Some might even think about what they wish they could have done. This only makes people feel even lonelier as they begin to feel like they are letting people down.
This is a problem that often hurts seniors. This comes especially as some seniors might feel as though it is too late for them to make good changes in their lives.You have to be more accepting of your life but, more importantly, you have to acknowledge and respect all the great things you have. Think not about what you do not have but rather what you do.
Look at things like how you have plenty of great friends in your life or that you have done a great job in your professional life. Think about how you have great hobbies of interest to you or that you have many events and activities in your life worth looking forward to.
It does not take much to think about the great positive things in your life. Look back at what you have done in the past and you will see it is not hard to get more out of your life when you feel confident and positive about yourself.Look For Great Volunteering Where You Live
One of the best ways how seniors can make the most out of their lives is by looking into great volunteering opportunities. These are events where people can go out and assist others with organizing special events or activities in a community.
Whether it entails working to station a polling center during an election, planning a parade or other community celebration, or just cleaning up an area in the neighborhood, many volunteer opportunities abound. You can bring your talents and efforts out to help with just about anything.
As you help other people, it becomes easier for you to enjoy life as you are helping them in many ways. You will feel a real sense of satisfaction as you assist others in making your community a little brighter.
You could also meet other people during your volunteer work. You can meet other seniors who might be interested in serving their communities too. The social and emotional benefits that come with volunteering your time and effort in your community are always ideal.Adopt A Pet
Consider adopting a pet. Having a nice pet in the home entails more than just having a companion on hand. It is also about making you feel positive about your life.
Families treat their pets as key members for many reasons. The love that a pet provides to a family is always unconditional. A pet will never criticize someone and is always accepting of people for who they are. Pets never judge people and are always there even during the toughest of times in life.
Having a pet in your home is always great as you can enjoy the company of a nice cat, dog, bird or whatever else you might be interested in. Such a pet will make for a good friend in the house.
When you care for your pet, you will also develop a sense of meaning in your life. You will once again feel that there is someone in your life that depends on you and cares about you.You should still think about how well you can take care of a pet as well as the particular type of pet you might be interested in. Think carefully about how capable you are of being around a pet and with giving that pet all your attention and support. This is so you will have a better experience with such a pet.
Loneliness and depression, as well as psychological well-being, do not have to be a burden to your life as you age. Just use the points you have read about here and you will find it is not too hard for you to feel better about yourself and where you are going with your life. Dealing with loneliness always helps as you look to stay confident and comfortable with your life.