Judson Haims: Socialization is important at any age
The loss of a spouse, friend or pet can be devastating at any age. Sometimes, these occurrences can cause people to lose their perspective on life. For senior citizens who may have lost friends and family to death or illness, maintaining a social life can often be difficult.
While experiencing loss and lonesomeness may be difficult, it does not have to be an impossible hurdle to develop a new social life. As with almost any of life’s challenges, maintaining a good outlook and keeping an open mind to new opportunities that present themselves is imperative.
It should come as no surprise that as we age, many of us frequently get comfortable with our daily routine and group(s) of friends. Unfortunately, doing so inhibits us from having new experiences and may have the effect of shutting us off from our community and the world in general.
Socialization may very well be the glue that binds the many aspects of a quality and healthy life. Observational and interventional studies are showing that socialization betters life quality as it promotes physical activity, improves nutrition, improves emotional well-being and helps keep the mind sharp and engaged.
A good beginning step to starting anew is to think about what activities you once enjoyed. Sometimes as we share our lives with others, we forget about the many things we once enjoyed. Pick them up! Or, think about the activities, hobbies and even places you once found intriguing. There are plenty of local and national clubs that provide great opportunities to share and contribute shared passions and interests.
Here in the valley, the newspaper has a great calendar of events detailing the many activities that are happening daily. Colorado Mountain College also provides many fabulous education classes and speaker series. If neither of these pique your interest, consider volunteering time at a school and sharing your time, life, and skill sets with our youth. There are also plenty of nonprofit organizations that are always looking for enthusiastic participants.
It is human nature to have the need to feel a belonging to or part of a community or family. Social integration is important. Here are some suggestions on rebuilding a rewarding social life:
• Make a commitment to yourself. Put your goals and aspirations on paper. Become committed to achieving your goals.
• Stay — or get — fit and healthy. Few things help the mind more or build confidence than a healthy mind and body.
• Consider trying new activities — yoga, tai-chi, swimming, book clubs, philanthropy, gardening, taking educational courses.
• Seek out people with similar interests — There are many clubs and actives offered throughout our communities.
• Look forward to the future — setting high standards and goals gives great purpose to life.
Maintaining an active social life is good for both physical and mental health; it may also keep you young at heart and stimulated.
If you have interest in socializing and participating with others for physical activities, consider tai chi, yoga or balance classes offered by our very own Pitkin County Senior Services.
On the 25th of this month, Senior Law Day will be held at Basalt Middle School. Check it out. You may just find information of something interesting to you — something educational or something you can participate in.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale. He is an advocate for the elderly and is available to answer questions. He can be reached at http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns and 970-328-5526.
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