Our senior years are supposed to be a time to enjoy the things we’ve been working for over the last 30 years or so. But many seniors find their golden years a time when they are lonely, bored, and unfulfilled. It is a sad irony that the time when they have the most opportunity to do whatever they want becomes the time when they are most unhappy.
It doesn’t have to be that way. As our life expectancy increases and we have more years of living after our days of working, there have been more and more options developed for seniors to stay active and happy instead of sitting around the house all the time.
Isolation is one of the most debilitating emotions someone can feel. Seniors often feel painfully alone after they have stopped working, especially if children and grandchildren don’t live close by. If health issues reduce their ability to venture out and socialize, the problem becomes that much worse.
Fortunately, it’s easier today to stay connected than it’s ever been before. Communicating with friends and family online through social media is becoming increasingly popular among seniors. That’s in spite of the perception that seniors dislike technology, an image that has largely become a myth thanks to the advent of smartphones for seniors, which make mobility and communication simple and friendly.
One of the things we often sacrifice for work and family is a creative outlet. If we once spent time doing music, photography, community theater, or other artistic pursuits, we often make them the first thing we drop in order to accommodate the demands of a job, spouse, children, or home.
Decades later, it may be time to recapture that creative urge, or even to develop one that didn’t previously exist. Late bloomers like Grandma Moses are proof that it’s never too late to take up a hobby for fun or even profit.
Seniors can seek out classes to learn any of a variety of art skills. Becoming a photographer is easier than ever today, with countless online sources for prints and other products. The list goes on and on. Whatever outlet is chosen, it can fill a lot of hours with enjoyable activity.
Sometimes the toughest adjustment for seniors is finding a way to fill the huge vacuum of time that was created when they retired. It isn’t just the 40-plus hours of work per week that they’re filling. It’s also the need to structure the week around work. When you are retired and have nothing to do in a week but a one-hour trip to the grocery store, the emptiness is glaring. Add in the lost interaction with people and it’s a difficult combination.
Seniors who experience those feelings need some structure to their lives. Whether it’s a regular event with a church, a charitable activity with a civic group, or even a job, it can be very beneficial to their emotional well-being to have commitments that require their regular presence.
One great way for seniors to enjoy their time is to travel. When they no longer have work commitments or kids at home, it’s easy to be footloose and fancy-free, packing the suitcases and heading out wherever they want to go.
Some may express reservations about the cost, but what’s important to note is that it is much easier to get bargains on fares and hotel rooms when you have more flexibility on the dates that you travel. Seniors with no commitments to work around can easily avoid weekends, peak travel times, and many of the other conflicts that other travelers face.
As we age, we face many changes. Seniors who aren’t prepared for how their lives will evolve may find themselves lonely, stressed, and unhappy. It can be difficult to break out of the mindset of their working days and realize just how much freedom they have. But once they do, they can find their golden years more enjoyable and satisfying.