Loneliness is a universal emotion that often occurs during significant life transitions. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, reduced mobility and independence, family and friends moving away or simply living alone, it may not surprise you to learn that these situations often cause feelings of loneliness among older adults.
Here are some healthy strategies to help you or your loved one overcome loneliness:
Make an effort to meet new people
Meeting new people can be adventurous, exciting, and certainly worthwhile. Organize a neighborhood get-together or make new friends at your place of worship, community senior clubs travel clubs or civic organizations.
Volunteer your time
Volunteers can positively impact the health and well-being of their community. You can serve as a tutor or mentor to a young student or collect tickets at performing arts events. Volunteering is a great way to help others and make new friends.
Learn a new hobby or reconnect with past interests
Learning a new hobby can stimulate your mind and help keep you motivated. Many hobbies can be shared with others, even when you have mobility challenges. Join a book club or take crafting and scrapbooking classes.
Adopt a pet
Caring for a pet can be a great healing opportunity for someone who feels lonely. Pets love unconditionally and can provide loyalty and friendship. Caring for a pet can renew meaning and purpose in your life, and research shows the uplifting influence of interacting with pets can improve your physical and mental health.
If you feel you can properly care for a pet, consider visiting your local animal shelter to adopt a cat or dog in need.
Take advantage of home visitation services
Meeting people can be particularly difficult if you're homebound. You can call Aging & In-home Services of Northeast Indiana, the Allen County Council on Aging, or a place of worship to inquire about home visitation services.
Look out for depression
Loneliness can lead to depression. Depression is generally felt over a period of time and is accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, helplessness, changes in appetite and sadness.
Reach out if you think you or your loved one is experiencing signs of depression. Talking with a friend, family member, worship leader, counselor or healthcare provider can help you feel better, physically and emotionally.