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There is no age limit for meeting new friends. It's for both the young and old, and can be vital to your overall well-being.
A study by University College London showed that social isolation can be detrimental to a senior's health: Socially isolated people in the group (ages 52 and above) were 26% more likely to die earlier than those with socially active lives.
With retirement giving you more time to reconnect with your longtime circle of friends, it is also an opportune time to start building new ones. Here are seven easy ways you can meet people as a senior:
- Travel. See the world and explore different places. Immerse yourself in another culture. Traveling will allow you to meet people of different cultures and backgrounds.
- Pursue your passion. This could mean enrolling in a class or getting an instructor. But since your aim is to meet people, it's more ideal to be in a class. You can take up photography lessons if that's your passion. You can enroll in art workshops, creative writing seminars, culinary courses or whatever fires your interest.
- Volunteer in your community. You can devote time in your local schools, animal shelter, museum, church, library or hospital. Sites like createthegood.org allow you to search for volunteer opportunities. A lot of nonprofit organizations can use an extra pair of hands, giving you the opportunity to meet like-minded volunteers.
- Go social. Are you on Facebook? If not, then consider creating an account. Social media allows you to connect with old friends and meet new ones. There are also Facebook groups you can join that suit your interests. Did you know that 56% of online seniors (above 65) are Facebook users? Don't be left behind!
- Hit the gym. Being in optimal health should be one of your main goals. Go to the gym for your regular exercise. Consider joining a class where you get to be with the same group of people on a weekly basis. Getting fit while gaining new friends can be a win-win for you.
- Take a part-time job. Some of us are just wired to do something regularly. If you're one of them and relaxing at home isn't your cup of tea, then consider a part-time job. You can accept consultancy jobs that rely on your expertise and don't require you to report to work every day. You can also start a coaching or mentoring career. A job could open doors to new friendships.
- Go online. If you're interested in dating but are not keen on your friends' referrals, then you might want to consider online dating sites. You can browse through the sites to get a feel for them. If they don't fit your personality, then you don't have to sign up or meet with anyone. But if you're willing to take a risk on love, this could be an ideal way to do so.
It may take time to build a new network of friends now that you no longer have business appointments or work commitments. The above tips can help, but it doesn't have to get complicated. Sometimes all you really need to do is go out and strike up a conversation with someone at the park or at a restaurant, and before long, you'll have a community of friends to enjoy in your golden years.