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Whether you’re feeling lonely because of social distancing or a gradual decline in companionship, it’s important to recognize you could be experiencing what’s called social isolation.

That feeling of being cut off from the world — a lack of social connections — can affect your physical and mental health, increasing your risk of dementia, anxiety, depression, and other serious medical conditions.

Thankfully, there are ways to feel more connected. Below, we’ll walk you through things you can do, including taking an assessment that connects you with resources that can help you rebuild connections.

Make Reaching Out a Habit

For many of us, the first step to feeling more connected is finding people to talk to on a regular basis.

Call an old friend, neighbor, or family member to see how they’re doing. Ask if they’d like to schedule a weekly “check-in and chat.”

Feeling shy? Request a call from an AARP Friendly Voices volunteer or see if your community center has a similar program. Talking with others is a surefire spirit lifter.

Consider hosting a weekly video chat for family, friends, or co-workers. Invite people to a virtual game night, movie watch party, or “cocktails and conversation.”

Google Chat and Houseparty are free video apps, and Zoom subscription holders can send everyone a free link. For more video tech tips, check out the non-profit Senior Planet.

Join a Group Where You Can Socialize

Being part of a group can help you get out of a rut, interact with more people, and enjoy stimulating conversations.

Here are some groups to look into:

  • Volunteer Organizations: Find virtual or in-person opportunities to give back at Create the Good from AARP.
  • Book Clubs: Check your local library or join one of these online reading groups.
  • Senior Centers: See which group classes are offered in your area.
  • Online Communities: Search by your favorite activity or join Stitch for people over age 50.
  • Support Groups: Find people in the same situation — whether you’re a caregiver or coping with a chronic condition.

Widening your social circle can put you on the path to feeling more connected.

Make Time for Self-Care

One of the hardest parts about feeling isolated is that you may neglect your physical and emotional needs.

Here are a few ways to take care of yourself:

  • Maintain a Routine: Stick to the same times for work or house projects, mealtimes, workouts and relaxing activities.
  • Move Every Day: It’s great if you can break a sweat, but a 10-minute walk or simple stretches are good, too!
  • Spend Time Outside: If that’s not an option, open your windows or add a bird feeder near a window to bring the outdoors in.
  • Express Your Creativity: Try out a new hobby or recharge with an old favorite
  • Explore Meditation: Discover the benefits of quieting the mind with these tips for beginners.

Nurturing your wellbeing may help you feel less alone and ready to take on whatever comes your way.

Learn More When You Take the Assessment

See how connected you are when you take this three-minute assessment and find resources you can use to deepen connections based on your results.

Find Help

Search our directory to find programs and services near you.

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