Retirement Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely: 9 Great Ways to Stay Connected
Retirement can be a difficult time as you adjust to a new life away from the 9-to-5 grind you’re used to. And if you’re not careful, retirement can become an extremely lonely time, especially if your social life was once wrapped up with your work life.
Thankfully, retirees can find companionship in a variety of places. Although it takes a little effort, it’s completely worth it! According to a recent study published by PLOS Medicine, maintaining a strong social life can benefit your long-term health as much as avoiding cigarettes does.
So in the name of health, happiness, and camaraderie, here are nine great ways for you to find companionship during retirement:
1. Adopt a pet. Adopting a pet is a common option for gaining a companion during retirement, but did you know that caring for a pet actually has health benefits? According to the American Psychological Association, pets are important sources of social and emotional support, especially for those facing significant health challenges.
Not only do pet owners show lower stress levels, but they also have a greater sense of purpose. You can even take your pet companionship one step further by mingling at local dog parks, attending charity walks, or volunteering to visit patients at local hospitals!
2. Find a hobby. It’s hard to switch up your daily routine, but trying something new or picking up an old hobby could be just the thing you need. Having a hobby makes you part of a community of like-minded people.
Whether you join a local theater troupe, a gardening club, or a knitting circle, meeting new people on common ground makes socializing easy. And if you enjoy a hobby that’s less likely to be done in a group setting, use your interests as a conversation starter to connect with new people.
3. Join a gym. It’s common knowledge that regular exercise provides mental health benefits, but joining a gym also has social benefits. Similar to picking up a new hobby, going to the gym directly connects you with others who have similar interests. You can build a strong friendship by enduring something difficult with another person. So put on your shoes, grab a towel, and hit the gym!
4. Find a pen pal. Writing to a pen pal is a great way to expand your circle of friends, brush up on your writing skills, and organize your thoughts. It also helps you recognize the great things going on in your life, and it gives you an outlet to share your expertise and learn new things. Online resources such as International Pen Friends and PenPal World can help you connect with people across the globe.
5. Join (or start) a club. Joining or starting a club is easy — all it takes is two people who are willing to meet regularly. Once you start, you can invite others to join in.
For example, maybe there are few opportunities in your area for retirees to get together and socialize. You can get into the routine of going to dinner every Wednesday night with a small group. Then you can start inviting more people. Even if you don’t know much about these people, you’ll have scheduled times to get together, talk, and build lasting friendships.
6. Learn something new. It’s never too late to learn something new! Taking classes not only furthers your education, but it also gives you a scheduled time to meet new people. Whether you’re learning a new language, auditing a college course, or trying out pottery for the first time, learning something new opens up opportunities to meet people outside of your established social circle.
7. Pick up a part-time job. Although it might seem crazy to re-enter the workforce, finding a part-time job can meet your companionship needs during retirement. A job provides a structure for your day, a consistent set of cohorts, and an opportunity to help people. Plus, you’ll have some extra money for fun activities!
8. Volunteer. If you’re not keen on diving back into the workforce, volunteering is a great way to help others and meet new people. Check with schools, libraries, animal shelters, and churches for volunteer opportunities. Volunteering allows you to learn more about your community and see what others have to offer.
9. Connect with local seniors. Make lasting friendships by getting involved with your local senior center. Whether you’re enjoying a weekend getaway with companions or a Friday evening at the symphony, tapping into local senior resources can provide a variety of activities and opportunities to meet new friends.
No matter what you do to combat loneliness during retirement, know that you’re not the only person facing this challenge. By doing online searches or using tools such as Boomerly that connect retirees all over the United States, you’re sure to find the social opportunities you need to fulfill your companionship needs so that you’re not lonely during retirement.
Annie Doisy is a reverse mortgage expert who helps seniors enhance their lives by taking advantage of the equity in their homes. Annie creates retirement and personal finance content to inform homeowners on how to access the equity in their homes. She believes that staying well versed in all types of mortgages is necessary, regardless of your or your company’s specialty.