Twenty-eight percent of Americans over the age of 65 live alone so it is very important for seniors and caregivers to be aware of potential social isolation and depression.

Social integration, the opposite of social isolation, has been found to be generally beneficial to health across adulthood into old age” (Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, Research Review, March 2007). So, while it may seem that your grandmother is just playing Bingo, she is making valuable social connections that will help keep her mentally and physically healthy. Here are some tips on how to combat social isolation;

•   Volunteer your time. There are opportunities to volunteer everywhere. Contact schools, hospitals, libraries, soup kitchens, churches and local charities for available opportunities.
•   Find a hobby. Whether playing cards, scrapbooking, knitting, playing Bingo or fishing, make it a point to meet with friends regularly to enjoy a hobby together.
•   Schedule a regular weekly time to meet with friends. A morning cup of coffee, lunch, tea or sitting at the park, make an excuse to have a regular meeting with friends each week.
•   Schedule family time. Call your family regularly to touch base, laugh and share stories.
•   Attend church. Even if you haven’t before, now is a great time to get involved. Church will get you out of the house and may open more doors for volunteering, hobbies and friends.

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