Staying Social After Retirement
The celebrations are over, you’ve cleared out your office and now you’re officially retired. You’re ready for the next chapter in your life, but you’re concerned that the end of your job may mean the end of many of your social connections. Staying connected is vital for health and well-being as we age, so how do you stay connected?
“When you engage with others who have similar interests, you have a circle of individuals around you so you have a network to turn to for support, motivation and encouragement,” said Brittany Blue, Chief Marketing & Philanthropy Officer at Sound Generations.
Visit, call or email relatives and friends
Don’t isolate yourself. Even a video call with a loved one can increase feelings of connection.
Check out the senior center
Senior centers offer a wide range of activities, from dance, yoga and other exercise programs, to theater groups and book clubs. You’ll also find daily opportunities for social interaction, whether that’s having lunch, meeting a new Scrabble opponent or taking a scenic drive. Sound Generations is reinventing the senior center. Check out activities in your area.
Many nonprofit and community organizations need help and much of it comes from volunteers. For example, volunteers do 90 percent of the work performed by the American Red Cross. You can also visit www.volunteermatch.org to find information about volunteer opportunities in your community. VolunteerMatch can help you determine what type of organization is a good fit for you and how your skills and interests match.
Find a Meetup group
Meetup is a website where you can find groups of people who share your interests, from wine tasting to sketching to coding. Meetup has an astounding 8 million members in 100 countries, so the odds are good that you’ll find a group – or several – that pique your interest. Simply sign into the site and start searching.
Take a class
Have you ever wanted to learn how to tap dance, play the guitar or make the perfect French crepe? Taking a class is a great way to connect with like-minded people. You’ll find a variety of classes at your local college or community center, or head to Google and type “classes near me.”
Take a hike
The Northwest is a paradise for hiking, and there are clubs and organizations that can help you get started. REI offers classes, day trips and events for all skill levels. You can also take a dream trip — REI offers off the beaten path vacations and volunteer expeditions to locations from North America to Europe to South America.
Grab a bike
Bike trails abound in Western Washington, and Cascade Bicycle Club can help you get started. With 15,000 members, Cascade is the nation’s largest statewide bicycle organization. They offer classes, tours and thousands of free group rides. You can also check out your local bike shop for information.
Join a club
Meeting regularly with a group of people who share your interests is a great way to build relationships, make new friends and stay active and engaged. Your local library can be a good place to start. Or do a web search for “clubs near me.”
Tap an app
There are apps you can download that help you meet new people. If you have a canine companion, check out Meet My Dog. The app helps you connect with other dog owners near you. Make a puppy play date and both you and your dog can make new friends. SupperClub is a social food-and-friends app that helps you join potluck groups or cooking clubs, attend and host food events, and share recipes. Nextdoor, a social network that aims to connect neighbors, is a great way to communicate with people who live near you.