A lonely retirement could shorten your life, so make some friends
Building a strong social network should be as much a retirement planning goal as building a strong 401 (k), say psychologists specializing in the treatment of retirees. “Social media is incredibly important and becomes significantly more important as we age,” says Jacob Brown, therapist in San Francisco.
Deborah Heiser, an applied developmental psychologist in New York City, says research shows that people who have even one or two close friends live longer and have more emotionally stable lives, so people shouldn’t worry about building up. a phalanx of friends. “It’s not the quantity that matters,” she says. “It’s the quality.
Good friends have common values and experiences as well as common interests. “Playing a round of golf with someone isn’t the same (as socializing with a good friend) unless that person means something to you,” says Brown.
Knowing what you want or need from your friends can tell you where you are looking for a quality match. If public service is important to you, for example, a charity like Habitat for Humanity would be a good place to start. Here are some popular options for people approaching or retiring.
– Help a charity. Several websites help people find volunteer opportunities. Some, like the Aging Mastery Program and the Senior Corps, place retirees. The Taproot Foundation connects people with specific skills and nonprofits that need them. Volunteer Match has a great selection and a good geographic filter. Idealist.org includes events that require ad hoc volunteers.
– Take a class. The adult education offered by local school districts can help you find people who share your desire to learn fine art, technology, languages, cooking, literature, or even acting. Many universities allow seniors to attend classes at little or no cost. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington and state departments of aging have details.
– Share a hobby. Whether you are a canasta fanatic, avid hiker, wine lover, swing dancer, karaoke singer, or soccer fan, you can find like-minded people near you through Meetup.com .
– Move. Following doctor’s orders to exercise three days a week can help you meet people. Whether you prefer bowling, biking, golf or tai chi, invite a neighbor or acquaintance to join you. Otherwise, see if the local Parks and Recreation Department offers recreational team sports such as softball, basketball, or pickleball.
– Keep the faith. Places of worship often organize regular activities for their worshipers. Many events are scheduled specifically for older members.
– Take advantage of the media. Social media sites like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook make it easier to find old friends and renew relationships.
– Find a job. Whether or not you need a paycheck to supplement your retirement savings, finding a job outside of your home for a few hours a day or a week makes it easier to meet people, clients and clients. colleagues.
– Turn a new page. Ask the local public library or bookstores if they can recommend book clubs that focus on particular genres, authors, topics, or time periods that you enjoy. If the clubs do not exist or are full, create one yourself.
– Walk the dog. Walking with determination is a good way to exercise; walking with your dog is a good way to socialize. While pets aren’t props, your pooch can be an adorable icebreaker. Several studies have shown that people are much more likely to approach a stranger walking or playing with a dog than a stranger alone. The American Kennel Club offers tips for finding – or starting – a group of dog walkers in your neighborhood.
It helps to do an activity you enjoy, whether it’s biking, bird watching, swimming, or being a guide at a local museum or historical society. You can first say, “I don’t know what I like. I was working all the time, ”Heiser says. In this case, try several activities.
If you give it time, something will come to you. “Once it clicks,” she adds, “things fall into place.”