There are currently 56 million adults over the age of 65 in the United States, and about 14 million of those adults live alone.
As of 2020, nearly one-quarter of people 65 and older were at risk of social isolation. Despite this high number, there is little conversation around the topic of how to make friends when you are aging alone.
Challenges of Aging
As human beings, we thrive on community and connection - no matter our stage of life. For many aging adults, this can be a challenge as they discover they can no longer perform the daily activities they once could and tend to spend more time alone.
Health problems such as hearing, vision, or mobility loss can make social connection a challenge, and loneliness is a common experience for those who lose family members and friends.
For adults aging alone, this loneliness and social isolation are associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease, and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
Benefits of Friendships to Aging
Cultivating friendships while aging is the best way to combat the physical and mental health risks of loneliness and social isolation.
Strong, healthy friendships may be even more beneficial to aging adults than family relationships, especially when family members tend to fall into caregiving roles.
Finding friendship during every stage of life can help one to strengthen their immune system, sharpen memory, and increase their quality of life.
Tips for a Healthy Social Life
Despite the benefits of finding friendships, the reality is that it is a challenge for many aging adults. Finding and nurturing quality friendships can feel overwhelming, but below are some ideas that may help.
Find a Hobby
Finding an exciting hobby will help keep your brain engaged, whether it’s gardening, bird watching, creating art, or finding a favorite genre of book or movie. You will meet others with common interests when you pour yourself into something.
Finding a cause you care about, other people who share a common passion, and making a difference in your community is a great way to find a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Take a Class
Is there something you’re interested in that you want to know more about? Even when mobility is a challenge, keeping your mind interested in something will help you live a happier and longer life.
Physical activity is beneficial for your physical and mental health and a great way to meet other people. Find a trainer to help you in the gym, join a fitness class with other people your age, or take a walk around your block to feel connected to your local community.
HomeSpark Can Help
At HomeSpark, we understand the importance of social connection and engagement while aging.
Our professionally trained staff provides support and companionship. We have a heart for serving others and are on a mission to change the way aging adults are cared for in our community.
We offer companionship services because we enjoy spending quality time with and learning about those in our care through engaging conversations, hobbies, and community events.
To learn more about our individualized non-medical in-home care services for aging adults, contact us today.