Lonely Seniors! Do You Want To Be Lonely?

American National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Lonely seniors, do you want to be lonely? Hardly anyone does - not seniors, not middle aged people and not young people. If you want to be lonely, just avoid taking the steps suggested below:

In America, there is no reason for lonely seniors to be lonely.

Go to a senior center. There are some eleven thousand senior centers catering to the needs of seniors. Those eleven thousand senior centers provide services to about a million seniors each week day from Monday through Friday.

However, there are fifty million seniors and the number is increasing by about ten thousand each day. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2014, over 59 million Americans will receive ... Social Security benefits.

ref: Social Security Administration basic facts.

So where are the remaining 58 million seniors? Busy traveling, or sitting at home watching television and feeling bored and lonely perhaps ? Not necessarily. There are many seniors who are glad to be alone and happy to be engaged in their hobbies.

If you are not one of those happily alone, come on along to your senior center! The senior centers have a winning formula to keep lonely seniors entertained and in the company of their peers. The day starts with early morning hall walking. If your senior center doesn't have a hall walking program encourage the center to have one!

At 10:00 a.m. they usually have a speaker. At 11:00 a.m. they have congregate lunch. At noon they have chair exercises, or singing or line dancing and that can go on until 2:00 p.m. After that the card players play until 3:00 p.m. while the computer enthusiasts spend time in the computer room until 4:00 p.m. That's a full day's activity from which you can pick and choose. Also, that list does not cover even half of the activities of senior centers.

Many lonely seniors do not go to senior centers because...

 ...of one reason or another - truthfully, because of one excuse or another. Many seniors don't go to senior centers because they don't want to be labeled 'old'. However, skipping the steps needed to avoid loneliness can have disastrous consequences. Numerous studies over the past three decades have proven that loneliness can have a very deleterious effect on physical health. One such study published by the National Institutes of Health is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12021415. Loneliness can reduce the quantity and quality of your senior years. Loneliness can contribute to increased risks of dementia, heart diseases, high blood pressure, mortality.

In the later years of retirement, going to senior centers is much more difficult because of issues of poor health, loss of spouse or poor mobility. The time to take social action by going to your local senior center is in the early years of retirement.

The flip side of that for lonely seniors is...

...the good effect of avoiding loneliness by going to a senior center at a regular or regularly irregular schedule. By doing that you avoid all the nasty effects of loneliness in old age.

By the senior years one learns that there are all kinds of people in this world and one also learns to steer clear of the toxic personalities. Even though most seniors are very easy to get along with, those people who were toxic in their younger years continue to be toxic when they join a senior center. Just avoid such people!

For lonely seniors, one of the best advantages of going to a senior center is to spend time with people who get to know you and your name. You can move that process forward by being very particular about finding out the names of people you meet.

After I had found out the names of about thirty people I started having difficulty remembering names. However, at the senior center I have no hesitation telling people I have forgotten their name. Somehow, in the senior years, it seems to be O.K. to do that. Every one else is experiencing the same difficulty and they appreciate the fact that you are making an effort.

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With the embarrassment, of having forgotten a name, gone; I have moved forward boldly and with great success. Even in the senior center one has to make an effort to make friends and trying to remember names is a great start. When you first see a new face, there is a hesitation about speaking up and introducing yourself. Never let that hesitation last more than five to ten seconds. If you don't act during the first five to ten seconds of the opportunity to introduce yourself, you are likely to not act. So, jump that gap and just extend your hand and say your name or just smile, say your name and extend your hand. If you smile and say your name, you may be able to get by without extending your hand. Every success in this process will contribute to your next success. It is worth being socially active because it slows the inevitable deterioration of the mind and body.

Do it on three days of the week

If you take steps to avoid loneliness, you can do it on three days of the week and be by yourself for four days of the week and thus have the best of both worlds.

The best part of retirement is that you can finally do exactly what you please. Perhaps you prefer to be by yourself and enjoy doing whatever it is that pleases you. There are many retirees that do so. The problem, however, is that one starts to lose old friends to disease and death and loneliness slowly creeps in and leaves you isolated. By the time that has happened you find yourself dealing with issues caused by the possible loss of your spouse or  immobility due to disease or age. Getting away from loneliness at that stage is extremely difficult. If you have shied away from being sociable from the early years of your retirement, you may find yourself disconnected from society.

There may be solutions that allow you to be sociable right from the start of retirement and also enjoy your solitary pursuits. One of the solutions is to go to a senior center or visit friends three days a week, go to a religious institution on one day a week and enjoy your solitary pursuits on the remaining three days. It helps to mix and match days in such a manner that you remain in social contact with many people while enjoying your alone time will work. Some people go to a senior center on Mondays and Fridays and continue to be sociable that way. Quite often they also exercise at the senior center on the days that they do go there.

A goal very easy to achieve

If you want to be lonely in your senior years, it is a goal very easy to achieve - just don't make an effort to keep in touch with your peers.



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