As world events happen around us, technology changes so rapidly and kids grow up so fast, it’s easy to let this big priority slip – social connection.
Chatting with loved ones warms the heart, meeting someone new excites and inspires, reconnecting with old friends lets us fondly reminisce. Above all the warm and fuzzies, social connection actually improves your health, happiness and overall well being.
In fact, experts say a strong social life in retirement helps with:
- Better cognitive skills and lower risk of dementia because socialising keeps your mind active
- Lowering the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes
- Better functional skills
- Stronger immune systems
- Improves mental health.
That’s why, taking steps to improve your social life is one of the most beneficial things you can do. Here’s seven easy activities you can try.
Connect with new and like-minded people
If you want to meet new people but aren’t sure where to begin, never fear! Give one of these activities a try to meet like-minded friends in a relaxed and easy environment.
- Connect with your neighbours
55% percent of people wish they were closer to their neighbours. This means that there’s a good chance the people on your block want to know you just as much as you want to know them. A friendly hello is an easy first step: if you see someone new moving in, wander over to welcome them to the neighbourhood.
- Join your local library
Libraries are the ultimate community hub – free events, small group activities and talks are all part of the repertoire. Because you already have common ground as a neighbourhood locale, it’s easy to get chatty. Ask someone about their favourite book at a reading group or give a compliment to someone in group class to start the beginnings of a longer conversation.
- Attend local council meetings and events
When you get involved in your local community, not only will you get to shape and cultivate your local life, but you’ll get to connect with equally passionate people who hold similar values to your own. To find out how to get involved, go to your local council’s website for information about meetings and community events. If you’re a City Beach resident you fall within the Town of Cambridge. Click to read what you need to know here.
- Sign up for fitness classes
Stay active and healthy while meeting new people. Gyms have gone beyond solitary workouts and most now offer group fitness classes in different age groups to create a strong sense of community among the regulars. If you live in a retirement village or independent living facility these services should be available on site within your existing community – enquire at your friendly reception. Ocean Gardens residents can join up to our complimentary village wellness classes.
Connect with friends and family
New ways to connect with your loved ones.
- Use social media
If you’ve ever flicked through an old photo album and stopped on a familiar face to wonder where they ended up, it’s time to jump on the social media train (if you haven’t already). With the click of a button you can search for family or old friends, then reconnect with them by chatting, sharing and viewing photos, organising get togethers and so much more. If you’re new to the digital social space, use this step by step tutorial to set yourself up or ask a family member to give you a quick tutorial.
Tip: Safety first. Do not connect with people you don’t know or who you have never met before.
- Organise monthly outings
Life gets in the way and we can lose touch with our friends. If you have a set day every month with friends, everyone will remember the date and catching up becomes part of your routine. Whether it’s something as thoroughly planned out as a monthly book club or relaxed as a coffee catch up or walk, the power of this regular ritual will leave you feeling more fulfilled. And best of all…it’s free!
- Become pen pals
While it’s easy to pick up the phone or send an email, there is something special and sentimental about receiving or sending a hardcopy letter in the mail. Express yourself through your words, send across an art or craft or even an old photo you have sitting in the drawer.
From local library events to the online social space, it’s easier than ever to stay social in retirement. Staying social is just one piece of the puzzle to make retirement the best years of your life, to learn how to get the most out of your time check out the handy guide to your golden years, “How to make the most out of your retirement.”