If the last few years have shown us anything, it is the importance of communication and staying connected. While staying in touch with our loved ones is something that we can all benefit from, it is particularly important for seniors. However, as we age and our mobility is hampered by conditions such as arthritis, it can become a major challenge to stay connected with those we care about.
Thankfully, technology has helped to make staying in touch far easier. No matter where in the world we might be, we are able to talk with our friends and family at the clock of a few buttons. However, while virtual communication is great, it is no substitute for real in-person conversations.
If you are struggling with maintaining contact with your loved ones, we have taken a closer look at some of the best methods to help you stay in touch.
The importance of staying connected
Before we look at some of the best methods of staying connected with our loved ones, it is first important to understand just how important it is. Loneliness is a major factor impacting seniors. More than one in three adults over the age of 45 have felt alone, which can be incredibly damaging to both their physical and mental wellbeing.
Research from the National Institute of Aging has shown that social isolation can result in a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, and even cognitive decline. This insight is supported further by additional studies from University College London, which found that those seniors who visited friends on a regular basis were 12% less likely to develop dementia compared to those who saw their friends infrequently.
While we all feel lonely at times, remaining social is not only good at helping to prevent feelings of isolation, but it can also help to keep your mind active, boost your confidence, and improve your mood. However, as we get older, it can become harder to see our friends and family. When you retire, you naturally see fewer people each day as you no longer surround yourself with your colleagues.
It is also common to find that your children move away or become busy with their own lives, while friends also begin to disappear. Health also plays a major role in making it harder to stay connected with loved ones. Conditions such as arthritis can significantly reduce mobility, meaning seniors become reliant on their friends and family coming to visit them.
Tips to help you stay connected
There can be no denying that staying connected is essential to maintaining your mental and physical health. We know how difficult it can be to remain in touch, though, as you get older. That is why we have taken a closer look at some of our top tips:
1) Consider volunteering
As we get older, it becomes a lot harder to meet new people and find new friends. Starting to volunteer at a local support center or charity can help you to get out and meet like-minded new people, increasing your social interactions.
Not only is volunteering great at helping you to meet new people and stay connected, but it can also give you a sense of purpose and structure. No matter whether you volunteer once a month or weekly, volunteering offers seniors a chance to enjoy a regular activity.
2) Start a hobby
Another great way of meeting new people and keeping yourself active is to take up a hobby. This could be pottery, painting, golf, or anything that you find interesting. Regularly doing your hobby will not only keep your mind active, but it can also help you to meet new people.
A hobby is also a great way to stay connected with friends and family. For example, if you love playing golf, then why not schedule a weekly round with your loved ones.
3) Stay in touch
This might seem an obvious one but making an effort to stay in touch with your friends and family is essential. Although face-to-face conversations are always the best, in the hustle and bustle of modern life, it is not always easy to find the time to meet up.
That is why you should not be afraid to pick up the phone to those you care about to chat with them. You can also utilize the raft of new technology available by making video calls so you can see who you are chatting with. Try to schedule a regular call at the same time each week so that you have something to look forward to.
If you are feeling lonely and your friends and family are no longer around, then many charities offer companion services. This could be a phone call with trained individuals who can chat about things, or even in-person companionship who can visit you weekly for a coffee.
4) Join a local group
Joining a local group or club is another fantastic way to stay connected. Whether it is a local walking club, reading group, or community gathering, these are great opportunities to meet new people and have something to look forward to.
These groups can also help you to keep your mind active and engaged, reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
5) Go back to work
While many of us look forward to our retirement, stopping work can instantly cut off our daily connection with others. A lot of seniors also feel like they have lost part of their identity when they retire, finding that without a purpose every day, they quickly become bored.
Going back to work is a great way to keep connected with others while also ensuring your brain remains active and engaged. This doesn’t mean that you need to re-enter the 9-5 rat race, but instead work at a local shop, bar, or restaurant for a few hours a week.
6) Embrace social media
Social media is one of the most effective tools available when it comes to staying connected. If you are not as mobile as you once were or you simply find yourself with more time on your hands, using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is a great way to engage with your friends and family as well as meet new friends.
Need help to get moving again?
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