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Dear Alex,

I spend the majority of my days at home by myself watching the movie channels and trying to keep myself busy around the house. The kids come by on the weekends sometimes, but after my wife passed I really don't have a social life.  I'd like to get out and meet people, just not sure how to do it or where to go to meet others my age.

~ Lonesome | July 20, 2022

Dear Lonesome,

My sincere condolences for your loss and thank you for your outreach.  Loneliness comes in many forms, and becomes particularly prevalent as we move into the later stages of our lives. Not to mention, the residual effects of isolation due to Covid has compounded the frequency and severity of loneliness by all populations.  

The area of loneliness has been a well researched topic and we know that loneliness is a contributing factor to more severe physical and emotional health concerns. So much so, that doctors are encouraged to assess patients for loneliness and treat it with the same level of care as depression.

As you already know, loneliness can be combated through socialization. So let’s talk about how to open up your social circle and where you might want to start looking for new opportunities to make friends and have experiences.   When working clients experiencing loneliness, I always like to start with these first few questions… 

  1. What activities do you enjoy?
  2. Is there anything you wish you knew how to do or want to experience? 
  3. Where have you felt most comfortable and had the most fun in the past?
  4. What kind of community are you looking for?

These questions should get you started. If you enjoy painting, look up a painting class at the local community center or community college and enroll.  Finding an activity to engage with in a group setting is the easiest way to make connections and feed your soul.  Other ideas might be a local book club, bowling league, or a bingo night.  Invite your neighbors over for dinner and try cooking something new.  Check out the local recreation center, club house, library, rotary club, community colleges for game nights, volunteer opportunities, social events and adult classes. Volunteer with your zoo, museum, or food bank and build connections while fostering community growth. 

Enjoy the process and be kind to yourself. Maybe share these new experiences with your kids. Let them know you are trying to create some new connections to combat your loneliness, and share with them how it goes. They can be an encouragement for you as well, and may help you find another avenue to explore. 

If you need help finding clubs, groups or organizations you’re interested in, send me an email. Happy to connect you with relevant groups in our community.