Most people are aware that community is healthy for elderly citizens.  Our article on loneliness discussed some practical ways that seniors can combat the routine loneliness that tries to overtake them.  All of those ideas are important, but the community aspect of senior life is one of the most important because without at least a small community, many people fall through the cracks.  So, if you are a senior citizen in a smaller, rural community, this article will give you some ideas of places to go where you can meet  others  and help cultivate an appreciation for others in all generations and also establish  contact that will benefit you and others around you.

  1. Farmer’s Markets. These lovely little pop up markets are common to smaller towns.  They are full of a rich variety of people offering great food and produce.  If your town or area has one, you could benefit nutritionally from above par produce, but you could also benefit if you return regularly by meeting and establishing relationships with the same vendors week after week!
  2. Art Guilds. If you are from a smaller community, there are generally established art guilds in the area that encourage certain artforms, such as quilting, spinning, wood-working, etc.  If any of those things is within your interest area or expertise, it is work looking into.  Once there, you’ll find others who share your talents and interests.
  3. Extension offices. Most states have these offices and they have information on all kinds of activities to get involved with.  There are often classes and particular clubs that meet in your area that focus on everything from homemaking to agricultural or gardening interests.
  4. Co-ops. Whether they are food buying co-ops or other types, co-ops are a great place to meet people who are like-minded.

5.  If you’ve never been a church goer, you may not realize the incredible sense of community that comes from being surrounded by those who care.  Churches are a great place to cultivate relationships that are long lasting.

6. Gym or exercise classes. Try your hand at a gym or health club membership, especially if they offer classes for other seniors that have programs that are specific for the elderly. It’s possible to get in shape and make friends all at one time.

7.  Community theatre or music. If your town has a community theatre organization, they may love to have your talents on display for their acts, or they may benefit greatly from your other skills in costuming or even for practice reading lines.  If this interests you, try out.

8.  Festivals or celebrations. Most small communities have at least a few festivals per year.  Find out how you can be involved, even if it is acting as Santa or Mrs. Claus for the local children at Christmas! If your community has a parade, find out if there’s someone who needs a volunteer to throw candy from a car or float.

Instead of focusing on things that you cannot do, think about what you COULD help with and look for opportunities to get involved.   It might be an inspiration for other generations, and also for those from your own generation as they look for community of their own!