As people look forward to New Year’s Day and start making resolutions, we have one that can not only change your outlook on life but also improve your health in the coming years. Research shows that people with social support and good relationships tend to live longer. That’s because loneliness and isolation can lead to an almost 50% increase in dementia as well as a higher risk of anxiety and depression. Our New Year’s Resolution to you is to make new friends, and we have a few ideas to make that happen.
As you age, it is only natural for your social circle to diminish, as friends pass on or move away. The good news is there are plenty of ways to meet people and make friends, and most seniors have the time it takes to do that. A professor at the University of Kansas decided to study how friendships form, and found that it takes 80-100 hours to turn an acquaintance into a good friend. So find some opportunities to get out and meet people, and over time you’ll find new friendships in some unlikely places.
Family First. When thinking about cultivating relationships in your life, the primary ones are often family. Whether your children live close by or hours away, they lead busy lives and it can often be hard to find time to visit. Make sure to take time to reach out with a phone call, maybe try to schedule it so you both know you have something to look forward to. And remember that Facetime app you learned to communicate with the grandkids during COVID? That can still come in handy. Just seeing those little faces can bring a smile to your life and help break the lonliness for a few minutes.
Join an Exercise Class. It can be hard to get out for walks in the winter when the weather is cold and it starts to get dark so early in the evenings. Take advantage of the exercise programs for seniors at your local community center or Y. There are two benefits to taking these classes, you not only meet people but get a good workout. Then take the initiative to ask a few people out for coffee or a moothie after class. You’re well on you way to meeting new people.
Volunteer. Whether you’re greeting guests at the hospital or knitting prayer shawls with a church group, volunteer activities are a great way to meet people who share your same interests.
Make Use of Piedmont Home Care’s Resources. Companionship comes in many forms, and a caregiver from Piedmont Home Care is not only trained to provide assistance with daily living activities but can also become a great friend. Many of our caregivers say their clients are like family, and the friendships formed are some of the most valuable for both parties.
As we head into the coldest months of the year, make sure to be ready to battle the winter blues. Make that New Year’s resolution to make new friends, and get out and have some fun