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Hi, My Name Is Roberta: Expanding Your Social Network as a Senior Citizen

“I am so frustrated that the garbage man did not collect the cans again,” I say into the silence of the house.

“I know! I feel like taking and dumping the garbage at the office!” I continue, felling a little better.

“How can they say the cans are not acceptable they have been picking them up for a year!”, but your voice is only in my head.

I pull out my phone and look at your name in my contact list and wonder, if I hit send would I get your voicemail again or would a stranger answer?

Forty plus years of being best friends, through deployments, getting married, having kids, losing family, crying, laughing, countries between us and now our inside jokes live only in my head.

I hear the garage door open and close and know my husband is heading in from yard work. I put my phone down and wipe the tears away as I feel his breath on the back of my head and smell fresh cut grass as he kisses the top of my head.

“I am sorry you are missing her today,” he says, the weight of his hands providing comfort.

Friends come and go throughout our life and are essential to our well-being as humans. Losing friendships and as relationships change it can be difficult to find new friends because of mobility changes, physical ability changes and general life changes. As a senior it is important to maintain an active social life, read how isolation can affect you at Know A Vet.

How a volunteer group is using the latest tech to help senior citizens overcome loneliness

Even if you know you have a smaller social network than before how do you make new friends as a senior citizen. You may have reservations because you don’t think you will have the same connection as you had before, or you think that people in your age range probably already have a set social circle and it will be difficult to become part of a new social circle, or you have limitations that don’t allow you to participate in activities that you used to. AARP has outlined how to overcome some of these barriers and 15 things that can help you build stronger connections, click here to read their article.

Even in our new world of social distancing, technology has made it possible to do activities through video or locating activity groups that are meeting the social distancing guidelines. Meetup.com is one website that allows you to look at age range and interest to find groups that are meeting in your area, click here to go to their website, as always use caution and report suspicious activity to website administrators. Facebook also has groups by interest so you can share stories, pictures, suggestions, and see local events. Click here for more information from AARP on making new friends.

Making friends out of your age range through mentoring or volunteering opens up a lot more options and can bring a lot of meaning into your life, click here to look at the volunteer positions open at Know A Vet? or click here for eMentor an online mentoring site for personal and professional life.  Also look at local nonprofits in your area for volunteer opportunities. Road Scholar polled 1,000 retirees to learn about their hobbies, click here to read what they found.

Online gaming is a great option to meet people with similar interests and help keep your brain sharp, click here to learn some guidelines of what to do when playing online games and visit Pogo.com one of the largest free game sites that includes multiplayer games and individual games. If you are a member of AARP they also have individual player games, click here to go their game site.

Going outside on nice days for a walk or group exercise class regularly will help you meet the same people and over time friendships will start to develop. Find senior activities to do in your area from the International Council on Active Aging click here or visit Silver Sneakers Program provided by Medicare click here to find classes in your area or join an online class.

Future articles we will tell you some heartwarming stories of vets reaching out to help other vets and how you can get involved.

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