02 February, 2023

Did you know that staying socially active as you get older will make you a happier, healthier senior?

Old age leads to certain difficulties that contribute to social isolation and feelings of loneliness. It’s perfectly normal to feel lonely.

If you feel that you have nobody, the thought of socialising or making new friends later in life can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, we are here to assure you that it’s completely possible to get yourself back out there!

In this blog post, we’ll explore why it’s good for you to be socially active in your 60s and older, as well as some ideas and solutions to help you stay social in your older age.


Why do I feel lonelier now that I’m older?

You’re not alone in feeling alone. Relationship Australia’s recent study shows that 27.1% of retired Australians feel socially lonely.

Seniors are at increased risk of social isolation due to factors such as limited mobility, impaired senses, and the loss of family and friends. Social isolation is the major cause of feelings of loneliness.

You may be at increased risk of social isolation if you:

  • Live alone
  • Live in a rural or remote area
  • Have limited access to transportation
  • Are retired
  • Are widowed or unmarried
  • Have peers who have passed away
  • Have no children or grandchildren
  • Have busy adult children and grandchildren
  • Struggle financially
  • Have impaired hearing
  • Have impaired vision
  • Have limited mobility or a disability
  • Experience discrimination where you live
  • Face a language barrier where you live


How staying socially active benefits your health

Social relationships are central to our wellbeing and critical to our health. When our relationships are strong and plentiful, we can live longer, happier lives.

Research shows that seniors who are more socially involved are at decreased risk for heart disease, illness, high blood pressure, and mental deterioration.

Staying social also benefits your memory, your self-esteem, and your sleep. Socialising contributes to significantly lower rates of dementia, depression, and anxiety.

But how?

Being social engages both our minds and our bodies.

Socialising may include involvement in physical movement and activity, such as taking a seniors’ exercise course or simply getting out of the house. Keeping the body active lowers your risk of heart disease, recurrent falls, and bone fractures or breakages.

Being social is also extremely stimulating for the mind and your mental wellbeing. Being active instead of sitting or lying down naturally boosts your mood. Engaging in conversation, laughing, and smiling simply makes your day so much better, and elevates your self-confidence and overall happiness.


Getting back out there in your 60s and over

Getting out there and being social can be really daunting for anyone, regardless of age. Some of the challenges that come with old age can make it harder to be social.

There are quite a few creative solutions to help you become more socially active. Remember, the first step is always the hardest.

Join local groups for older people

It’s very likely that there are at least a few community groups for older people in your area.

For example, fitness groups, such as a walking group or a yoga group, are an excellent way to make friends while keeping your body and your heart healthy.

Relationship Australia Queensland’s Senior Social Connection Program (SSCP) is a free service that offers social opportunities for older people in Sunshine Coast and Gympie. The SSCP includes social groups, peer support, healthy lifestyle events, and more with a focus on addressing the factors that contribute to the social isolation of older people.

If you live in another area of Queensland, the Queensland Government offers an expansive list of community groups for older people across the state.

Rekindle old friendships

It’s likely you have lots of former friends, classmates, and colleagues who you’ve naturally drifted apart from. Now would be a great time to reconnect.

Reach out with a phone call or on social media. Make a point of getting together.

The great thing about catching up with old friends is you’ll likely already have a lot in common, and therefore a lot to talk about.

Turn hobbies into friendship opportunities

You may find yourself bored or feeling a lack of purpose in your old age or as a pensioner. But there’s never been a better time to practise your hobbies, or even pick up a new hobby.

Whether it’s music, gardening, or reading that you’re passionate about, there’s surely a local social group that hosts meetups and activities. These groups may or may not be senior-specific. You can find these local groups on Facebook or on Meetup.com.

Get involved with your local religious community

Joining a local faith-based community can provide you with an instant support group while simultaneously providing you spiritual comfort and guidance.

If you already attend a religious service, you can get more involved by going to studies or attending events. Religious communities tend to be very welcoming and supportive of their members.

Call a friend or a relative

Sometimes a simple phone call is all that’s needed to reignite a friendship or a relationship with a family member.

We all know what it’s like to be young and to get so caught up in your own life that you lose touch with a parent, grandparent, or older family member. Sometimes it’s just a matter of not realising how much they mean to you.

Call them, tell them you’re thinking of them, and let them know it would mean a lot to you to spend more time together or have more frequent phone calls.

Say hello to a neighbour

Strike up a conversation or introduce yourself to a neighbour. There are so many benefits to befriending your neighbour, from regular chats to having someone to rely on in case of an emergency.

Studies show that forming friendships with your neighbours can decrease your risk of heart attack.


Relationships Australia Queensland’s Senior Social Connection Program helps older Queenslanders in Sunshine Coast and Gympie to stay connected. Seniors in other areas of Queensland can find helpful socialising resources on the Queensland Government website.

If you or an older person you know is lonely or socially isolated, our Senior Relationships Services are here to help. Our experienced counsellors can help you explore your concerns and possible solutions in a safe and supportive environment.

You can learn more about our Senior Social Connection Program here, or call 1300 063 232 to make an appointment.


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