by MichelleR on February 21, 2014

When a mature person loses a spouse, a close friend, or even a pet, it can be very easy to lose perspective on life. It is all too easy slip into sadness and seclusion and stop relating with people who once filled an important part in daily life. Children (if any) have often moved away and are frequently so heavily involved in their own lives, with work, children and other obligations that they cannot spend a lot of time with their aging parents. Although experiencing loss and loneliness as a senior citizen is difficult, it is not impossible to develop a new social life. A good attitude is a major factor, as is making most of the opportunities that come your way. Here are some ways that you can begin to build a fulfilling social life for yourself that will help you to live meaningfully and with purpose.

Steps

  1. Determine what activities you used to enjoy. Did a loss cause you to set aside favorite hobbies or pursuits? Pick them up from where you left off. Or try new activities with the help of a local club, group, church or even through Internet and library research. Use the local newspaper to keep abreast of upcoming events of interest. Visit university lectures on topics you know nothing about to stretch your imagination and improve your knowledge. More ideas are suggested in the Tips below.
  2. Return to keeping fit. While climbing Mt. Everest may no longer be in the cards, there is certainly nothing stopping you from continuing physical activities involving walking clubs, senior’s gym or other fitness activities made available especially for seniors. Staying fit is a sure way to build confidence and regain a healthy outlook on life.
  3. Find a buddy. If you feel reluctant to go out on your own, there are many volunteer organizations that will help by providing transportation. Invite a friend or neighbor to attend events with you. Get back into the rhythm of meeting new friends. Little by little, you’ll become less fearful of going out alone.

4. Be open to new suggestions. This may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if it involves new technology. Consider trying new activities that are possible given your level of health and fitness, and that you find interesting. Try not to react negatively to suggestions from others who try to help. Think things through before rejecting the ideas altogether. You may discover something you wished you’d tried earlier.

 5. Become a mentor for younger people. Young people are eager and willing learners when they discover that you have knowledge that you are willing to share. Offer your services at local clubs to give talks, to teach a skill or to guide people (museums, zoos, parks etc.). Elderly people are respected for their knowledge; capitalize on this by sharing it.

6. Remain positive. The pain will always be there; that is the nature of loss. You deserve the best after giving so much of yourself to the world. Smile when you’re feeling down. Smiling induces positive chemical changes in the brain and brings us back up. Take in a light movie or rent an old classic to watch at home. Listen to comedy on the radio, check out a humorous book or two from the library and have a good hearty chuckle. Rediscover your sense of humor and your well-being will improve; this is all the more important if you have buried yourself under a load of sadness, self-pity and sorrow.

7.  Think outside the square. Research the Internet for stories of the more challenging things senior citizens are doing; cycling across countries, skiing, writing a first novel, entering the Masters’ Games etc. All these things and more are possible with the right attitude. You are as old as you let yourself be; your dreams are as expansive as you let them be. So, what about all those things you promised yourself you’d do someday? Maybe today is that day.

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