According to a report by AARP, approximately 22 percent of people 65 and older are considered solo seniors, or those without a spouse or adult children to care for them. Without this support system, many seniors feel lonely and don't have anyone to call when it comes time to go on errands or just to chat about daily events and emotions. The good news if you are one of these seniors is that there are many ways you can build a solid support system even when your extended family doesn't live close.
Social media is one of the best ways for seniors to stay connected with old friends and family that live far away. The Pew Research Center reports that approximately four in ten seniors own a smartphone, and a third of those use some form of social media.
Apps like Facebook and Instagram make it easy to interact daily as long as you have an internet connection. Use the apps to locate friends you haven't spoken with in years or to organize get-togethers.
Strengthen your faith and get involved with others in the area who have similar beliefs at a local place of worship. Most church's offer senior groups with regular activities that make getting involved easy. Examples include Bible study, prayer groups, thrift sales and trips within the community. This is an excellent way to make new and lasting friendships.
Aside from beating loneliness, volunteering provides a wealth of benefits for seniors and individuals of all ages. For seniors, volunteering also helps fight depression and social isolation and decreases anxiety. To find opportunities in your area, contact your local branch of the National Council on Aging, AARP, Volunteers of America or Meals on Wheels. Some libraries also invite seniors to sign up to read to children. For mobile seniors who've always wanted to join the Peace Corp but weren't sure where they would fit in, the organization has a need for volunteer administrative assistants to file papers and perform other office duties.
Seniors who are ready to retire and those who don't have a large support system should choose carefully when looking for a place to retire. At The Gardens in Springfield, MO, our residents have plenty of opportunities to connect with one another and form strong friendships. Our close-knit community has access to regular activities and planned outings, group exercise programs and plenty of common areas to socialize in.
Regardless of age, seniors have plenty of options to meet new people and build a healthy support system even when family isn't close.