Throughout history, there have always been those who are more comfortable in social situations and those who are less comfortable in the same situations. There are various types of personalities which thrive in large group settings where they can mingle freely & those who are not anti-social, but would prefer to have fewer and closer friendships. As we age, this does not change, but oftentimes it becomes more challenging to meet the social needs that we have. Our relatives & friends who are younger have very active lifestyles which may not be conducive for a drop in visit as often as we'd like. Some of those closer to our age have passed on or have moved into different living situations making it nearly impossible to get together on a regular basis. It would be easy to sit back and feel sorry about our circumstances and finally, to give up trying to form new friendships.
If you look at research, however, that is the very last thing that we should do in order to stay healthy for longer! Social engagement can help to stave off dementia if it is combined with physical exercise, mental activity & a good diet. It's an important part of a holistic health plan for yourself or a loved one you are trying to help.
But what types of social engagement might be enjoyable or appropriate for the aging? For starters, volunteer work of various kinds is available for elderly people that are still wanting to be involved in affecting change in our society. Many people work in charitable thrift stores sorting clothing & other items. Some that have repair skills have started up community repair shops where people can have belongings repaired instead of throwing them out. Baking or cooking for those in need, or being a part of a sewing/quilting/crocheting group that makes things for those in need are also great ideas to start off with.
If you are from the quieter side of society, perhaps playing cards with a smaller number of people would be more to your liking, various other activities might include chess, pottery or ceramics, painting classes, a music or singing group, or even a book club. These activities may have fewer people involved, but are just as important to those attending them for a sense of belonging, stability, & engagement with others.
We all need friendships, but until recently their importance for our overall health had not been studied. The more we discover, the more we realize just how much they impact our lives, mental health & emotional state.
Reach out to others today and just see of those acquaintances become valuable friendships down the road!