One of the most daunting tasks a senior can face is undertaking the renewal of their social life. Perhaps he or she has been moved to a group home and the task is now mandatory, or maybe an adult offspring has managed to convince their aging parent that they need to get out and mingle more with others. Maybe the senior has recently lost a spouse and is seeking other senior citizens for peer conversation, or perhaps the senior realizes that he or she is lonely for one-on-one time.
While it can seem frightening at first, easing back into an active social life can be done smoothly, by first drawing on the senior citizen’s past interests, and even creating a few new ones. This same concept can be adapted to your mom and/or dad:
- Ask your parent what his or her hobbies were when they were younger. Was Mom an avid gardener? Did she knit or crochet? Did Dad golf or bird watch? Find a meet-up group that supports this same interest, and arrange to get Mom or Dad there, or start one at the center where Mom now lives or attends. Hanging out with others who share a similar interest will do a world of good to combat loneliness and foster confidence.
- If Mom is crafty, make sure she has plenty of supplies. Nothing lifts the spirit like creating with one’s hands. Plus, handiwork such as knitting is often a conversation-starter when she carries her work with her out in public.
- Re-introduce fitness to your parent(s). Walking and/or exercising with others (either outside or in a facility) are healthy for the mind and body.
- Ask your parents if there’s a subject they’d always wanted to master, such as a foreign language, hobby or skill. Then help them attend that photography class or Japanese cooking class where they can meet plenty of others who share a common interest.
- Encourage Mom and/or Dad to join a senior’s trip to a destination they’d always wanted to visit.
- Introduce Mom or Dad to volunteer opportunities at a local hospital or organization they support. They can meet new people while helping others who need their support.
By approaching life with a newfound appreciation, your folks will no doubt enjoy a renewed sense of energy and vigor. Creating a new social life can be as easy as sharing these interests with others!