Despite living in an ever-connected world, the issue of loneliness and isolation has become a challenge around the world. One recent study has gone so far as to call the issue an “epidemic.” That study, based in America, is only the latest to suggest that as we age, we are more likely to face loneliness and isolation, and the health risks that are associated with them. In fact, the Government of Canada recognized this issue in a report published in 2016, while the Government of Ontario has included various strategies to combat senior loneliness and isolation in their 2017 Action Plan for Seniors. But how can we avoid senior isolation and loneliness?
Whether you’re a senior yourself, a caregiver or simply a concerned neighbor, here are five things available right now in Amherstburg to help seniors reduce their risk of isolation:
1 – Volunteer
For many of us, volunteering is one of the most fulfilling ways of spending our time. To quote one of our Meals on Wheels drivers, “[volunteering] makes you feel valuable and a part of your community.” The most important thing is to be involved in something you’re passionate about. If you love working with cars, volunteer with the Car Gone Crazy group or the Canadian Transportation Museum. If you love gardening, contact the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society. Maybe you want to have an impact on the community at large, so consider volunteering with the Legion Branch 157 or the Rotary Club of Amherstburg. The point is to never stop doing the things you love with like-minded people or trying new things.
Here at ACS, we also offer a variety of volunteer opportunities that are perfect for older adults and retirees. If you want to learn more, click here and fill out our volunteer form and we’ll be glad to speak with you.
2 – Join a social group
Amherstburg has amazing opportunities to meet people looking to build friendships and meet new people. The Fort Malden Golden Age Club meets Monday-Friday every week at noon for card games and other activities at the Libro Credit Union Centre. Meanwhile, we host our own social group, aptly named the Friendly Social Seniors. The group meets every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month at 11:30 am to enjoy a delicious lunch followed by anything from group painting, to cultural presentations, to fun and different games. Give us a call to learn more or to find out what’s happening at our next outing!
3 – Learn a new sport or get back into one
You’re never too old to get out and play. Amherstburg and its surrounding area has plenty of opportunities to get involved in physical activities, regardless of your current limits. Pickleball is a great low-impact sport that is held throughout the summer months at the Libro Credit Union Centre. The Garage Gym and Movati Athletic Club both have fitness options tailored for older adults. The local AMA Sportsmen Association has plenty of programs that will interest those of us who enjoy the outdoors. Meanwhile, further out of town, the Ciocarro, Caboto, and Fogolar Furlan Clubs have Bocce Ball leagues.
4 – Friendly Visiting and Security Reassurance
The above suggestions are great for those of us who are more active and in good health. But about those of us who may struggle with leaving the house because of mobility barriers? For many, simply moving from room to room can be a real challenge. We’re proud to offer two programs to help these individuals stay social.
The first is our Friendly Visiting Program, which pairs a volunteer with a senior client. The volunteer then visits the client on a regular basis to have a conversation over tea, play cards, or anything else the two might enjoy doing. The second is our Security Reassurance program, which provides phone calls from our staff to check up on how you’re doing. Learn more about both of these programs here.
5 – Utilize Technology
Our last suggestion is to make the most of modern technology. Without going too in-depth on the benefits and risks that come with using the internet, it can be a great way to stay in touch with loved ones.
If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry about it. We provide FREE computer classes to help you learn how to safely navigate services like Skype, Facebook and more. Just give us a call to book your appointment.
A word of caution though; be wary of scammers and avoid speaking with people you do not already know. Learn more about navigating the web safely here.