How do We Help Seniors Connect?


Dear Benchmark,
I work in the human resources department of a large hospital. My main responsibility is coordinating paperwork for employees who are getting ready to retire. We try hard to help make the transition go smoothly for our employees.

We recently decided we need to take things a step further and provide more resources for life after retirement. I’ve been working on coordinating a package for each employee that includes a variety of resources ranging from restaurants that offer senior discounts to how to apply for Medicare.

I would also like to create a flyer with tips for staying social and making new friends during retirement. Can you offer any suggestions on what I should include?

Kind Regards,

Helping Seniors Stay Social and Connected

Dear Tina:

Sounds like a great resource you are putting together for your retirees! While many of us dream about the day we will retire and work on financial strategies to prepare for it, there probably aren’t too many of us that actually plan the social aspects of retirement.

And, it isn’t uncommon for older adults to see their social networks decrease in size. A close friend might decide living in a warmer climate is their dream and pack up and head south. Another one may choose to move closer to an adult child so they can help care for their grandchildren. Whatever the reason, it is important for seniors to rebuild their networks.

Here are a few suggestions for you to consider for your flyer:

• Join the senior center to take advantage of programs and events they host ---most are free of charge or offered at a nominal price
• Volunteer for a non-profit agency or two that aligns with the senior’s interests and passions
• Take a class at a community college or through an outreach program at the local high school
• Check with nearby bookstores to see if the host monthly book clubs
• Join a local fitness organization such as a yoga studio or the YMCA.  Always check with your doctor first before beginning any exercise regimen.
• Take up a new hobby such as a guitar class at a local music studio or garden workshops at an area botanical garden or nursery
• Visit the management office at your favorite shopping mall to see if there is a group of seniors who walk in the morning before the mall opens
• Hospitals often offer monthly lunch and learn programs to allow seniors the chance to learn more about different preventative, health care topics
• Explore the groups and clubs that are part of your church or synagogue
• Call the local elementary school to see if they need adults to help children who are struggling with reading or math
• Visit the websites of local metroparks and botanical gardens to see what workshops they offer
• If you have an art museum or zoo nearby, investigate special programs and activities they offer for seniors each month
• Don’t forget about the library --- many host a wide range of activities and events for older adults

I hope these ideas help your retirees get off to a great start with their next chapter in life!

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