Did you know that having someone who has your back benefits your long-term health? This could be a friend, a family member, a partner, roommate, or anyone who you feel you can trust and talk to. Loneliness and social isolation are risk factors for your health. Research shows that feeling socially connected and supported is a key factor in overall health and wellbeing, no matter what age we are.
What you can do to prevent or address social isolation
- Call a friend for coffee or get out for a walk together. Keeping it small and simple is the best way to set a goal you can achieve.
- Get to know an acquaintance a little better. There are likely people you cross paths with regularly but don’t know very well. Invite yourself to be curious and about their week or how they are doing. Just listening can be a great way to connect more with someone.
- Challenge yourself to say “yes”. Challenge yourself to say yes if invited out somewhere – a book club, a dance, or a game night. It’s not wrong to step outside your social comfort zone now and then!
- Be curious – Invite yourself to try a hobby, new interest, or consider joining a group. Can you find social opportunities related to activities you already enjoy? As the seasons change, check out local community listings for free activities in the paper or online.
- Use technology like video calls or social media to connect with friends and family on a regular basis.
- Volunteer. You have skills and life knowledge to share! Opportunities are available at schools, public events, hospitals, etc.
If in-person socializing is not available or does not appeal to you, try telephone or virtual community programming, and participate in at-home activities that bring you joy such as dancing, gardening, music, reading, drawing, journal writing, etc.
Need help connecting? Here are some useful resources:
- Lennox and Addington Senior Outreach Services – “Seniors Centre Without Walls” a program allows those 55 plus to take part in FREE interactive telephone/virtual based programming, offering; social, fitness, health and wellness and educational presentations for the older adults living in Lennox & Addington County. Visit online or call 613-354-6668 Ext 110
- Ontario Seniors Connect – Find social, cultural, learning, volunteer and recreational programs to help you stay active, independent and socially connected
- A Friendly Voice – A free, confidential “warm line” for older Ontarians, 55+. Trained volunteers offer an empathic ear and commitment-free conversation to seniors who just want to chat with a friendly person who cares. *Note that this is NOT a crisis line
- ConnexOntario – A free and confidential phone line to learn about mental health services in Ontario. Specialists provide contact information for mental health and addictions services or supports that meet the caller’s specific needs 1(866)-531-2600
- Learn more about social isolation and how to improve social health at sagelink.ca/health-care/loneliness-social-isolation/ and follow the learning module (with or without audio).