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There are challenges that may face us as we grow older (and wiser), including isolation and loneliness. Age UK statistics published in October 2016, reported that 41% of people aged 65 and over in the UK feel out of touch with the pace of modern life and 12% say that they feel cut off from society. It found that 3.5 million people aged 65+ and two million people aged 75+ live alone; while one million people aged 65+ said they never spent time with their family or friends.

Its study highlights the importance of addressing these issues, as it also reports that loneliness can increase your risk of premature death by up to a quarter, and that people with a high degree of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than people with a low degree of loneliness.

Many other studies show the importance of good relationships to keep us healthier and happier, and demonstrate the negative impact of loneliness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest studies of adult life ever done which tracked the lives of 724 men for 78 years, recently reported that spending time with others protects us from the bruises of life’s ups and downs.

With that in mind, here are five great ways to help combat loneliness:

Go on a Solos holiday

81% of Solos Holidays’ guests are aged 50 plus and one of our aims with Solos, has always been to provide a friendly, welcoming community for solo travellers. Our holidays offer guests a great balance of time together, as well as time alone, and it’s ultimately up to our guests how much time they wish to spend with or without the group. There are usually a number of different reasons why our guests travel solo; they may have different interests to their friends or partner, they may be widowed or split from their partner and dislike the idea of venturing on holiday alone, or they may simply love travelling solo but enjoy the guaranteed company of others.

Volunteer

Volunteering will not only make you feel good because you’re giving up your free time to help others, but it’s a wonderful way to meet other people, too. This may be something you especially want to consider if you’re recently retired and find yourself with too much time on your hands. Where to find volunteer opportunities? Do-it is a database of UK volunteering opportunities where you can search more than a million volunteering opportunities by interest, activity or location and then apply online. You can also contact Volunteering EnglandVolunteer ScotlandVolunteering WalesJersey CharitiesGuernsey Charities or Volunteering Matters to find opportunities in your area, or

Join-in runs volunteering projects as a legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Join a choir

Singing is such a feel-good activity and a fabulous way to meet others – and don’t worry if you don’t think your voice is good enough. Many community choirs don’t exclude and can help you to improve your tone and projection. There are countless physical and psychological benefits to singing. It increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, as well as reduces stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. There’s also a sense of belonging and community that comes with singing together.

Arrange a Meetup

The website Meetup lets you discover events and meetings in thousands of cities based on your interests. You can even create your own Meetup if what you’re looking for doesn’t exist. Meetup is organized around one simple idea: when we get together and do the things that matter to us, we’re at our best.

Join a fitness class

The physical and mental benefits of regular exercise cannot be overestimated and there are usually countless opportunities to get fit with others. For example, try joining a walking group or yoga class, a tennis club or aqua aerobics class. Try your hand at different classes and you’ll soon find something that you want to make part of your regular schedule.

 

 

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