Hobbies and Activities That Can Help Older Adults Make Friends
Updated on: November 2022
Written by: Kelly Koeppel
If you are trying to stay happy and healthy as you age, then you must stay connected, spend time with friends, and build your social network and support system. However, for many older adults, it can be hard to make new friends. For much of our lives, friends are made at school or work. When a person reaches retirement age, they don’t have these avenues to make new friends, and may be struck with feelings of isolation and loneliness.
There are several notable benefits of being social, including a longer life span and a lower risk of experiencing depressive moods. From outdoor activities to continued education, there are a variety of ways that older adults can connect with people and make new friends.
Gardening provides older adults with a chance to get fresh air, sunshine, and light exercise. It also opens up opportunities for social interaction. If you are interested in gardening, you can join a gardening club or volunteer your time at a community garden. This will allow you to spend time with other people who share your interests.
In addition, joining a gardening club or a gardening class may help you learn more about how to care for and nurture different plants. You can conduct research on the internet, look at social media sites like Facebook, or talk with the staff at your local library or community center to find group gardening activities in your area.
If you are trying to spend more time outside or work more exercise into your weekly routine, then you might want to consider birdwatching. There are birdwatching groups all around the world, and these groups allow you to make new friends and learn more about wildlife in your area.
Birdwatching is a fantastic outdoor activity for seniors. It allows you to move around without high levels of stress. Even better — you might end up getting coffee with a new friend when your birdwatching is done.
Book or Movie Clubs
For any bibliophile or movie connoisseur, book and movie clubs are a great way to make new friends while discussing pieces of work you’re passionate about. It allows for open debate, the sharing of common interests, and quite a bit of socializing.
Even if you don’t read too much or don’t watch as many movies as much as you’d like, these clubs give you a reason to make that move. They also expose you to great new stories you may not normally reach out for on your own. The truth is that many adults struggle with incorporating reading into their daily life. As an older adult, however, this activity is important more than ever because more evidence suggests that this activity can prevent further cognitive decline.
Joining a club that supports this mentally enriching activity will not only support your mental and social well-being, but it’ll also support your physical well-being.
Arts and crafts can help older adults explore their creative side. If you want to learn a new skill, brush up on an old skill, and meet other creative people, art classes are a fun option.
These classes may be offered at a local community center, recreation center, church, or college. If you are trying to save some money, look for classes that offer senior discounts. Some colleges allow seniors to audit classes or take them at a reduced tuition cost. If you make friends at an art class, you all can enjoy craft fairs and other artistic activities together outside of class.
Exercise and socialization are both parts of living a healthy life, and luckily, these two can be easily combined. Exercise classes, in particular, have a variety of benefits including:
If you sign up for a group fitness class, especially one geared towards older adults, then you will be able to make friends your age and enjoy low-impact exercises.
Some options for low-impact exercise include:
- Water aerobics
These exercises allow you to improve with movement, coordination, and overall function without risking any kind of serious injury. Choose one class you are interested in, or try more than one. There is no limit to the fun you can have at your local gym, senior center, or recreation center.
Travel is an amazing way to get out of your comfort zone, experience new cultures, and make friends. Two ways to travel and socialize are through group tours and cruise lines.
Group tours are often booked in advance and led by a tour guide. A group tour may take two hours (such as a tour of a museum), or an entire day (such as a bus tour around a city or island). These tours allow you to spend time with other tourists and make plans with new friends.
If you are interested in going on a trip, but the idea of arranging transportation, accommodations, and food is stressful, then a cruise is an excellent choice. When researching to find the best cruise line for you, be sure to look for information about the ports you’ll be visiting, accessibility, and social events.
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Health Benefits of an Active Social Life
Many people don’t see a connection between their social life and their physical health. However, maintaining an active social life as an older adult has many health benefits. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Improved mood and mental health: Mental health issues such as depression in older adults can be caused by isolation and loneliness. Leading an active social life can reduce loneliness, improve mood, and reduce stress.
- Reduced risk of dementia: Studies are showing that an active social life can help older adults to protect themselves against dementia. Participants in these studies who connected more with other people were more likely to perform better on memory tests.
- Improved immune system: People who have positive social interactions experience fewer issues connected with inflammation and have stronger immune systems. This means that seeing your friends can actually help you fight off certain diseases.
By using your retirement years to focus on building strong support systems and friendships, you can increase your quality of life tremendously. Whether you sign up for a new class or join a club, meeting new people with shared interests is a worthwhile activity, no matter your age.