For some seniors — especially for those who have retired, or those whose partners have passed away — loneliness can be a challenge. In fact, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Administration on Aging (AoA), 12½ million American seniors live alone.
And far more senior women than senior men live alone. The AoA estimated that nearly half of all American women aged 75 or older live by themselves.
No one should feel lonely in retirement. Luckily, it’s not that hard to meet other seniors living in Cincinnati. There are plenty of opportunities to meet peers and develop new relationships that will bring joy to your golden years. Let’s take a look at four ways you can meet new people and make new friends in Cincinnati.
1. Move to a retirement community.
For some, the best way to meet other seniors is to downsize and move to a retirement community. And there are certainly excellent options for doing so in the Queen City.
Here at Deupree House, the staff works hard to provide residents with many opportunities to meet their neighbors, to get out on the town and to build friendships. Our residents enjoy dinners out at Cincinnati’s finest restaurants, trips to the ballet, the symphony, the pops orchestra, the opera and more.
And we also encourage residents to form their own interest groups. We have groups that meet regularly to garden together, take fitness and yoga classes, worship together, write and share their memoirs and more.
But moving to a retirement community is just one option. There are plenty of other ways to get out and meet other seniors, even when you’re living on your own.
2. Volunteer with a local non-profit organization.
When folks retire, they often find that they miss the day-to-day contact they had with co-workers. But even though most people spend a significant portion of their lives in contact with co-workers, they don’t necessarily share the same outside interests with them.
Luckily, in retirement, you have time to do what interests you, and to spend time with people who share your interests and values. You can find them by volunteering with organizations that do what you’re interested in.
Want to help fellow seniors? Join Deupree Meals On Wheels and deliver warm, nutritious lunches to seniors who might just become new friends.
Are you spiritual? Join a faith-based service organization, a religious study group or visit a new place of worship and meet the congregants.
Are you a patron of the arts and the humanities? Join a writing group, volunteer as a docent at a gallery or museum, join an arts-promoting organization, go to monthly gallery hops and open studio events.
3. Use the election to meet like-minded (and opposite-minded!) seniors.
Civics organizations nationwide have seen tremendous membership declines in the past few decades. But you can help to reverse that trend, promote good governance and help to build your community’s resources. Consider joining the League of Women Voters, your local branch of Kiwanis or the Lion’s Club.
With a highly-contested, important presidential election coming up in November, you could volunteer as a poll worker for your county’s Board of Elections. Sign up to work for your political party or on your favored candidate’s campaign. Or, volunteer your time to help an issue-based community action organization.
4. When you’re out and about, introduce yourself.
This might seem like a simple thing, but it’s not — especially if you’re the introverted type. But the best friendships often develop unexpectedly.
Just as U.S. News & World Report contributor Dave Bernard found out, the act of introducing yourself to the people sitting next to you in a restaurant, standing next to you in line at the grocery, or drinking next to you at the coffee shop counter could lead to valuable, long-term friendships that could last through your retirement.
If you’re a senior living in Cincinnati, it’s time to get out and meet people!
Maybe a move to a retirement community, where you’ll find plenty of peers, is the opportunity you’re looking for to meet new faces. Maybe you prefer to stay right where you are and just connect with others on your own terms.
Regardless of how you accomplish it, staying socially active is important for maintaining both your support structure, and for keeping your mind and soul refreshed. Follow some of the recommendations above. Or, visit our Facebook page and share with our followers your tips and stories about how you’ve made friends in retirement!