Loneliness in Later Life and 15 Methods to Make New Friends
Guest article by Millie Fuller, creative copywriter and self-confessed coffee addict at Coffee 'n' Content
A 26% increase in mortality can be attributed to loneliness, which is a serious problem. But, feeling alone is quite natural. In reality, as we age, the chance of social interaction decreases and making new friends might become more challenging. Regardless of how it may seem, you’re not alone in this. We've compiled 15 strategies for meeting new people in your middle years: 1. Join an organisation or club dedicated to your hobbies. You can meet people in clubs who share your interests, values, and hobbies. They may help you feel like you belong and have somewhere to go, which can ultimately make you happier and healthier. 2. Participate in philanthropic work through volunteering Our lives and the communities in which we live can be significantly impacted by volunteering at a non-profit organisation. According to researchers, contributing enhances relationships, one's feeling of purpose, and overall wellness. Participants in a study presented in the Journal of Health Psychology reported greater happiness with life, enthusiasm, and self-worth. 3. If something interests you, enrol in a class about it. Courses and seminars are fantastic resources for strengthening existing skills, learning new ones, and gaining knowledge that will be useful in both our personal and professional life. Also, taking part can compel us to step beyond our usual environment, resulting in self-discovery and improvement. 4. Seek out new hobbies Having a pastime can help you feel better mentally, alleviate stress, and boost your mood. Hence, they provide dimension to our lives and enhance our wellness; they’re more than simply a method to pass the time. 5. Take part in nearby celebrations including fairs and other festivities Whether you reside in a village or town, you're probably aware of community events happening. Even if you've avoided them in the past, partaking can enrich our lives and benefit the community. We have the opportunity to interact with locals, and the fact that many of these events have a rich history contributes to us feeling proud of our roots. 6. Use social media to connect with people from all over the world Social media has had a profound impact on how people contact and converse with one another. These websites provide a number of features that help users locate other members. At the stroke of a key, we can now join online groups and forums that correspond with our personal interests. Bear in mind, however, that not all internet relationships are sincere or safe. 7. Attend networking events for business professionals A fantastic approach to meet those with similar professions and lifestyles is at business networking sessions. They provide us with a place for dynamic and enjoyable exchanges, helping widen our social network and expanding our list of contacts at the same time. 8. Approach another lonely person and begin a discussion In a café, it's typical for individuals to sit alone, so if you find yourself there, this might be a great chance to begin a conversation with someone. You may start a new friendship by just talking to someone our age. Why couldn't the person you sit next to at the coffee shop wind up being a new friend? 9. Meet up with old classmates Alumni gatherings offer opportunities to meet new individuals as well as catch up with old classmates. Because of how much we can change through time, it's a wonderful chance to reconnect. Furthermore, reflect, but if you meet someone new at the reunion, you'll already be on good terms because you attended the same school. 10. Support for isolated people At first, admitting that you feel alone might be difficult, but there are support groups out there. Finding others who understand your experience can be quite beneficial. Because everyone in the group is there for the same reason, there's a sense of respect among members, which could lead to friendships forming. Although it could be intimidating to attend a support group for the first time, keep in mind that everyone there is similar to you and seeks friendship. 11. Seek out those who share your religious or spiritual beliefs Religious or spiritual entities can give people a sense of belonging via their shared system of values. They also frequently plan events and gatherings where attendees may socialise. For instance, they frequently get involved with an array of volunteer or community programmes. Even if you don't identify with a particular religious group, there are many spiritual groups that focus on contemplation, meditation, and other fulfilling activities. 12. Join a language exchange initiative We can broaden our perspectives and meet individuals from all different backgrounds by learning a new language. The purpose of language exchange programmes is to pair native speakers of various dialects in order to speak and learn about one another's cultures. 13. Attend a book club and lose yourself in a good novel A smart way to read more books and meet others is by joining a reading group. People get together to discuss chosen works, which might bring up topics of debate that wouldn’t otherwise be discussed in your day-to-day conversations. 14. Book a group getaway and join others on a catered trip Doing things as a group naturally fosters friendships, whether you're exploring a new place, strolling through landscaped parks, or taking a culinary tour. Not only that, but it's a fantastic way to expand our horizons and get out of the day-to-day. 15. Strive to say yes Research has demonstrated the advantages of being more inclined to say "yes" to invitations to social events. For instance, a study that appeared in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships indicated that those who were more socially active generally reported being happier. Furthermore, social contact can lower stress, according to a different study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
A choir is an excellent way to meet new people.
Here, members of our Befrienders singing group enjoy singing outside.
The Befrienders on Meet Me on The Radio
Just before Christmas, The Befrienders featured on a holiday-themed episode of the Meet Me on the Radio Show.
It is a heart-warming and inspiring episode and we loved working with the team at The Albany/ Entelechy Arts.
You can listen to the show HERE!
From The Befrienders' performance at the Silver Sunday event last autumn, with over 60 online participants.
We had wonderful Christmas celebrations at all of our groups in December. Some of the highlights included: a belly dancing performance from La Violetta at Silver Lunch Club; The Befrienders' Christmas Cracker which also streamed over Zoom; lovely Christmas decorations with a beachy theme from Crafts Plus; and no restraint whatsoever with mince pies at Body & Bingo! Happy New Year to all!
Our Project Coordinator, Winnie Carlson, Speaks for Lewisham Local's IWD Campaign
Our very own Programme Manager, Winnie Carlson, is featured on the Lewisham Local website, discussing Ageing Well's work during the pandemic and celebrating women's achievements.
The campaign aims to view the global movement from a local landscape and individual experiences and stories.
"We want to celebrate the diverse range of voices from women who are at the forefront of Lewisham, both through their business and community involvement."
Sometimes when you're struggling with tech, it's nice to have a hard copy of instructions to hand.
One of our lovely volunteers is compiling easy-to-read, clear manuals for IT assistance with Gmail, WhatsApp and Zoom. Feel free to print out this Gmail pdf manual or forward it!
[Scroll down side bar to read document directly on our website or select the print or download options from the top menu bar.]
Patched Together Project
Be sure to check out the Patched Together online exhibition, featuring several pieces by Ageing Well members.
The Patched Together project was a collaborative project organised by Brockley's Make Mee Studio for Lewisham residents to learn creative textile skills from their homes and produce patches for a community artwork.
The Befrienders on Meet Me on the Radio
In Feb. 2021, members of The Befrienders were interviewed on an episode of the Meet Me on the Radio show in connection with The Albany theatre and Entelechy Arts.
The Sound of Hope
In the latter part of last year, The Befrienders collaborated with several other Lewisham vocal groups on the topic of hope and what is getting them through these difficult times of isolation. The result is a moving soundscape called "What is Hope?". It is an innovative mixture of recordings made within Zoom, through WhatsApp voice message, down domestic telephone lines, and on doorsteps.
Created by Natasha Lohan, with members of Trinity Laban's Inspired not Tired groups (The Befrienders, Voices in Motion, Singing for Lung Health and Young at Heart), and Trinity Laban music students. With thanks to Nick Worrall for help with the mix.
photo courtesy of Inspired Not Tired/ Trinity Laban
Interview with the Befrienders
The talented Jennifer Barwise, a Learning and Participation Graduate Intern at Trinity Laban, recently caught up with members of Ageing Well's Befrienders singing group. Jenny, who helps to facilitate the group's Tuesday morning Zoom sessions, asked participants what the group means to them, what they've been up to, and how they have stayed creative at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
WHEN YOU CAN'T BE IN THE SAME ROOM, ZOOM TO COMMUNE!
The Befrienders also feature in a recent post on the Pause and Replay blog. The blog was created by Inspired Not Tired facilitators, Natasha Lohan (session leader of the Befrienders) and Zoe Gilmour, both of Trinity Laban. Gilmour and Lohan use their blog to reflect on their delivery during lockdown.
Lohan writes, "Witnessing one another weekly in our home environments, providing comfort to one another as we share more of our lives through WhatsApp groups, the sands of what is private or public are shifting for us all the time. Caring begets trust and from there we begin to let loose and play with our performative / private selves and we begin to reform our practice in this strange new world."
Read the full post!
Photo courtesy of Inspired Not Tired/ Trinity Laban
CREATIVITY IN THE FACE OF COVID-19
"Let Me Out!" and the accompanying short musical film [SEE HOMEPAGE] were co-created by our singing group, The Befrienders, and their amazing vocal leaders from Trinity Laban, Natasha Lohan and Jennifer Barwise. The lyrics are original, written by Befriender Avril Sydee to the tune of Bing Crosby's "Swinging on a Star".
During lockdown, The Befrienders worked hard and fast to get the hang of Zoom-- with the tireless help of Jenny and Natasha. Many have said that the online sessions were a lifeline during such a difficult, isolating time. It wasn't long before the creative juices got flowing. Avril wrote the song's lyrics, and Natasha and Jenny started brainstorming on video snippets which would convey people's lockdown experience. The videos were collected through WhatsApp (also a great source of banter, laughter and connection for the group) and ingeniously edited together by Jenny and Matt Norriss with Natasha's direction.
We couldn't be prouder of this piece as evidence of humour, resourcefulness and friendship -- not to mention a celebration of the uniting and healing powers of music.
Last winter, members of our Silver Lunch Club enjoyed participating in a mindful photography project with eye4change's Differences in Common project. More of our members recently participated in the project which has been adapted to the changed conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even within the confines of one's own home, photography can be a meaningful form of artistic exploration and self-expression. Try this exercise with your window!
THE ARTIST WITHIN