Loneliness And Seniors


We all look forward to retirement and the prospect of living our best lives in our “golden years.” But for some seniors, the end of our working life brings the beginning of changes in our social circle, and we edge toward loneliness as we move through the other inevitable changes that come with aging.

Changes With Retirement

It’s a nice feeling to reach a point in your life where your focus can shift from your career and dedicating so much time to earning income. But what do you shift to?  Whether it’s travel, hobbies, volunteering, church or family, all of these things require social interaction.

Although we lose the boss and the schedule, we also lose our coworkers, our colleagues, our “work friends.” For some, it might even be the person we refer to fondly as our “work spouse.” It’s common for people to lose their focus and feel they’ve lost their value. Trying to keep up these relationships may sound like a good idea, but it’s not the same as seeing them daily, working on projects together, or engaging in office gossip. These relationships will fade, and they’re supposed to.

Making New Friends, Keeping Old Friends

Adding new projects to your retirement lifestyle may help introduce you to new friends you can spend time with while getting the benefit of social interaction. Many seniors maintain a church membership for spiritual reasons but reap the benefit of having a constant “church family” as well.

Signing up for classes, volunteering at your favorite charity, or becoming part of a regular exercise group all have their benefits, one of which is helping you to maintain a social circle.

The Effects of Loneliness on Seniors

We’ve talked about the period right after retirement. Let’s turn our attention to those who are further on in the aging process. Time flies by, as it is known to do, and profound changes happen. We may lose our spouse or a life partner. Our bodies may begin to wear out on us, making exercise and general mobility difficult. Longtime friends may pass away or even move away. Busy family members may not sufficiently fill the gap left in a senior's social circle. The effects of loneliness become more prevalent, and these feelings can lead to depression and physical ailments.

How To Help Alleviate Loneliness in Seniors

There are actions we can take to help our senior loved ones feel less lonely. Interaction with family members and people we care about helps everyone feel better about life. Think about the following:

Listening goes a long way!

Listening has been shown to help build self-esteem and increase trust. It’s an excellent place to start when you want to help your loved one feel less lonely. Encourage them to tell you what they’re thinking about, and you’ll learn more about how to meet their needs.

Consider Programs for Seniors

Most areas have day programs for seniors, where they can socialize and participate in group projects. Having a consistent plan, which means regular involvement on particular days. It also means that your loved one can look forward to events with expectation and enthusiasm! Check out your senior community center’s offerings and see what you can get your loved one involved in.

Intergenerational Events

Include your senior loved one in family gatherings, birthdays, graduations, weddings, christenings and similar events. Socializing with other seniors is great, but mixing with other generations will nurture a strong family tie and help all your family members feel connected.

Group Living and Senior Check-Ins

Senior living communities allow seniors to interact and develop relationships with others who are their age and who may come from similar circumstances. If this is not possible, many senior care companies offer senior check-in services, where they will make regular visits to the home and make sure that your loved one is doing well and staying safe.

For more guidance and assistance alleviating loneliness for your loved ones, visit www.leanondee.com. Lean on Dee can help you through the journey of caring for your loved ones as they travel through their golden years.


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