Vail Daily column: Social life is important at any age | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Social life is important at any age

Judson Haims

Losing a spouse, friend or pet can be devastating at any age. Sometimes, these occurrences can cause people to lose their standpoint 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 as a senior citizen 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.

PASSIONS AND INTERESTS

While experiencing loss and lonesomeness as a senior citizen may be difficult, it does not have to be an impossible hurdle to develop a new social life.

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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 to do. 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 Vail Valley, the Vail Daily has a great calendar of events detailing the many activities that are happening weekly. Colorado Mountain College also provides many fabulous education classes and speaker series. If neither of these piques your interest, then 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:

• Stop negative thoughts and emotions: The more you think about the worst case scenario, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

• Make a commitment to yourself: Put your goals and aspirations on paper. Become committed to achieving your goals.

• Spend some time thinking about and recalling the activities you once enjoyed.

• 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 an educational course, etc.

• Seek out people with similar interests: There are many clubs and activities offered both in the community you live and the communities near you.

• 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 stimulate.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to http://www.visiting angels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.