As you get older, it’s not uncommon to feel lonely at times.
Whether you’re living alone, have lost loved ones, or are experiencing health issues, loneliness can be a difficult emotion to deal with.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to feel less lonely as you get age.
Stay connected with loved ones
One of the best ways to combat loneliness as you get older is to stay connected with loved ones.
Whether it’s your family or close friends, having regular contact with people you care about can help you feel less isolated. Schedule regular phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits to stay connected with those who matter most to you.
In a study published in the “Journal of Gerontology” in 2019, researchers found that older adults who had close relationships with their adult children and grandchildren experienced less loneliness than those who didn’t.
The study also found that older adults who had more frequent contact with family members reported lower levels of loneliness.
Join a community social group or club
Joining a community social group or club can be an effective way to combat loneliness as you get older.
A book club, a gardening group, or a volunteer organization can provide you with regular social interaction and a sense of belonging. You may even make new friends in the process.
A study published in the “Journal of Aging and Health” in 2019 showed that older adults who participated in social activities, such as joining a club or volunteering, had lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of life satisfaction.
Older adults who have a sense of purpose in life are less likely to experience loneliness.
Get a pet
As you age, getting a pet can be a another way to combat loneliness.
Pets provide companionship and unconditional love, and caring for a pet can give you a sense of purpose. Dogs, in particular, require regular exercise and interaction, which can help you stay active and engaged.
In a study published in the “Journal of Applied Gerontology” in 2020, older adults who owned pets reported lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of social support.
The study also found that pet ownership was associated with better physical health and lower levels of depression.
Keep active and engaged
Staying active and engaged can help combat loneliness as you get older.
Whether it’s taking a daily walk, joining a fitness class, or pursuing a hobby, staying active can help you maintain your physical and mental health.
Engaging in activities that you enjoy can also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
A study published in the “Journal of Aging and Health” in 2020 found that older adults who participated in physical activity, such as exercise classes or walking groups, had lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of life satisfaction.
The study also found that engaging in hobbies and leisure activities was associated with lower levels of loneliness.
Seek professional help
If you’re experiencing chronic loneliness or feelings of isolation, it may be helpful to seek professional help.
A therapist or counselor can help you explore your feelings and develop strategies for coping with loneliness. They can also provide a supportive and non-judgmental space for you to talk about your experiences.
In a study published in the “Journal of Gerontology in 2021”, older adults who received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for loneliness experienced significant improvements in their levels of loneliness and social support.
The study found the benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) persisted over time, with participants reporting fewer symptoms of loneliness even six months after treatment.
Feeling lonely as you get older is a common experience, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. There are several strategies you can use to combat loneliness and stay connected with others.
It is important to remember that everyone experiences loneliness at times, and it is not a sign of weakness or failure.
Loneliness is a natural part of the human experience, and there are resources available to help you cope.
By taking proactive steps to combat loneliness, you can improve your overall well-being and enjoy a more fulfilling life as you age.