Research shows that staying connected to the people we love–whether friends or family–offers benefits beyond a vibrant social life. Staying socially engaged strengthens our immune system, bolsters our mood, and sharpens our mind. And, believe it or not, choosing to remain socially active, according to research, even prolongs our life. Risk of mortality is as much as three times higher for seniors living in isolation. The good news is, avoiding the devastating effects of isolation is easier than you might think…

10 Ways to Avoid Social Isolation

1. Exercise. No need to run a marathon or bike the Tour de France (unless, of course, you want to!) Go for a walk or take a dip in a heated pool. Better still, find a walking or swimming buddy and exercise together. The goal: stay active.

2. Learn to use technology. Social media isn’t just for the kids. Talk to your library or local community center about available workshops. Learn to use video chat so you can talk to friends and family far away. Though the computer is a far cry from face-to-face interaction, it’s also a much better option than staring at the walls.

3. Volunteer. Someone needs you and what you have to offer. Reach out to local schools, hospitals, or churches to see how you can help others. Find someone who is looking for a mentor. Nothing beats isolation like helping someone in need.

4. Take a class. You’re only done learning when you decide you’re done. What have you always wanted to study? Learn a new language or pick up a new skill or hobby.

5. Adopt a pet. The act of nurturing–whether person or animal–creates a sense of purpose. You might be surprised how much companionship a pet can offer.

6. Find transportation. If you are unable to drive or don’t have access to a vehicle, don’t let that stop you from getting out. Talk to your doctor or caregiver about transportation options for seniors, or ask a friend about carpooling.

7. Invite someone over. Be prepared. In this fast-paced culture, guests often cancel or postpone before agreeing to visit. Don’t take this personally. Keep inviting until people come. Having someone into your home is one of the best ways to build relationship.

8. Pick up the phone. Don’t wait for friends or loved ones to call you. Schedule a time to call the important people in your life. They may be waiting for you to make the first move.

9. Go to the doctor. If you are experiencing health concerns that make it difficult to enjoy being with others (such as incontinence or vision/hearing challenges), talk to your doctor. The solution may be simpler than you think.

10. Move into a retirement community. By design, retirement communities like The Overlook offer many unique and wonderful opportunities to connect.

That said, we invite you to explore The Overlook’s numerous living, dining, and lifestyle options, designed specifically to restore your social life and sense of purpose. Call today: 866-753-5429.

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