When we are still working, sometimes it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. Going to work, taking care of a family, basic housekeeping, and socializing with family and friends, all take time.
Retirement opens up new ways to spend your time, and leisure time is available at last. In most cases, there is little housework to be done, children are grown and out of the house, and we have more time on our hands than ever before.
How should we spend this time? Some people may choose to stay private and limit social interaction, and others may be involved in many social activities. Although it will always be your choice of how you spend your time, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many benefits of staying social during retirement.
Retirement Community Activities
When you live in a retirement home, you have the advantage of planned activities and a community of individuals in the same age group, with similar interests. There will usually be a group of people who are available to play a game of cards, attend a lecture or take a water aerobics class with you.
In many communities, there are also formal brunches to welcome new members or other social activities that allow residents to get to know each other. There may be cooking classes or book clubs, or a planned day trip to visit museums in a nearby city. You may even consider a cruise or vacation with members of your community.
Enhanced Mental Health and Increased Overall Health
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, staying social later in life has been shown to decrease seniors’ risk for cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure. Challenging your mind with social activities such as trivia games and book clubs can decrease Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
Take advantage of any sports-related activities your community may offer, such as golf, walking tours, or bocce ball if your health allows it.
Consider adopting a dog or cat — it encourages social interaction, as well as physical health. It is easy to strike up a conversation while you are out walking your dog, and you can also meet people at the pet store or vet office.
Staying socially active will help you in times of need as well. If you are a regular at the 8 am yoga class and do not show up one morning due to a fall or injury, your absence will be noticed and may trigger a visit to check up on you. A visit like this can save a life.