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Friendships with benefits for seniors

As we age, social interactions become more important as a way of combating loneliness. Feros Care has assembled tips to help you do this.

So you’re free! The days of careers, children and all those energy-sapping commitments are behind you. So now it’s time for some ‘me time’, but sometimes you also need some ‘us time’. The ‘us’ being other young at heart, like-minded people with a drive to create new memories.

Essentially, we are all wired to be social beings. To live a positive and healthy life, everyone needs to be acknowledged and connected to others in the community. Hundreds of studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation can have negative health impacts, erode self-confidence, breed negativity and increase episodes of depression and anxiety.

However, on the flipside, enjoying regular social activities results in increased self-esteem, an enhanced enjoyment of life and improved wellbeing. Add in a physical side to your social activity and you’ll be getting twice the benefit. But where to start? Follow your gut and look for an activity appropriate to your interests and capabilities.

Here are some simple and sure-fire ways to get social – whether it’s friends you’re trying to make or that special someone you are looking for.

Tips to socialise over 65

Walk and talk yourself happy by getting some friends together or join an organised group. Heart Foundation Walking (HFW) is Australia’s largest national network of free community-based walking groups. Walkers can join a group and/or even be part of a virtual walking community that track their activity online.

Meetup is an online platform that connects people of all ages for coffee catch ups and activities. Start your own group or join a group in your area. You’ll find many over 50s and over 60s meetup groups.

Libraries are amazing hubs for making social connections. Most have extensive programs to pique your interest in trying something new. You’ll find author talks, wellbeing workshops, ancestry tracing sessions and internet/smart device tutorials.

Sound like you? Whether you are – or are not (yet!) – you are sure to pick up a few juicy tips. Tech Savvy Seniors is a partnership between a number of state governments and Telstra, to help seniors develop skills to use technology for socialising, accessing important services or conducting personal business. The free, or low cost, courses are fun and hands on.

Now that you’re tech savvy, sign up for Feros Care’s Virtual Social Centre. This vibrant online community is designed for people just like you. There are book clubs, wellbeing sessions, special interest discussions, support groups and social chat groups all at your fingertips – and all yours without leaving home. Just log in and hang out with other seniors online. There’s a lot to keep you coming back and to help you develop new interests.

Many local libraries have book clubs which any interested person can join. Or up the ante and join a celebrity book club online and do some virtual socialising. Check out Oprah’s online bookclub and join thousands of others with the same love for literature.

Just about every local council pool has aqua aerobic classes these days and that’s great, but if getting wet isn’t your thing we might have the answer. Feros Care has a range of wellbeing programs to increase your heart rate and your social ambitions. From Forever Young to Tai Chair – so dive in.

The desire for companionship doesn’t diminish just because we’re ageing. Looking for a soul mate can be daunting, but online apps can make it safer, more empowering and fun! Give Tinder a miss and instead choose an app that specialises in over 50s dating –like Silver SinglesLumen or services like eHarmony which have a section for seniors.

After the recent bushfires, knitting groups have been popping up everywhere to help WIRES make warm pouches for orphaned wildlife. So get some friends together and knit a new home for a joey! Other community groups get together to make Boomerang Bags to reduce the use of plastic in their communities. There are over 250 groups across Australia and you can search your region at boomerangbags.org.

If your driving days are behind you but you love adventure, Feros Care social outings are for you. You’ll be treated like a VIP with door-to-door pick up and drop off and you’ll be whisked away with your friendly fellow travellers to anything from Tea & Trivia, to a garden tour, movie or art gallery. So go on, get out with Feros Care.

University of the Third Age (or U3A)

Lifelong learning opportunities for seniors abound and there’s none better than U3A. There are both city and regional locations, with no academic requirements needed and no exams! They offer leisure and educational courses from languages, to literature or photography all at a low cost.

We know there’s a lot to choose from, but all you have to do is start and discover the benefits for yourself.

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