Curbing Loneliness in Older Adults


With grown children out of the home, mobility and other health issues setting in, and the loss of friends and family members, many seniors find themselves alone more than ever before, and the consequences can be tough. Research has shown that loneliness and social isolation put older adults at heightened risk for debilitating health problems, including depression and dementia, which can lead to further isolation. Fortunately, there is hope. These ten tips will help you curb loneliness as an older adult so you can live your senior years fulfilled, engaged, and connected.

Bond with Animals

Pets aren’t just fun to cuddle with; they can be an effective antidote to loneliness in older adults. A pet can fill a home with activity and companionship and help get the mind off a preoccupation with loneliness and other aging concerns. If you can’t bring a pet into your living situation, there are other ways to bond with animals, like volunteering at a shelter, visiting a zoo, or offering to walk the neighbor’s dog. Even looking at pictures of animals can be emotionally satisfying and bring a sense of comfort, contentment, and connection.

Connect Via Group Exercise

Like to exercise? Doing it with others can do wonders to curb loneliness. A study by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center revealed that group exercise reduced loneliness by 6.9 percent and increased social connectedness by 3.3 percent among community-dwelling older adults. You might organize a group in your neighborhood or housing facility to meet regularly for a walk, swim, or bike ride, or join a low-impact tai chi, yoga, water aerobics, or dance class at a nearby recreation or fitness center.

Renew Your Fondness for Reading

Immersing yourself in an attention-grabbing book will have you forgetting loneliness in short order. Books can draw you in and make you appreciate the time spent by yourself. Plus, reading is a great way to sharpen critical thinking skills, boost concentration, and improve memory, all which enhance quality of life and help reduce risk factors for loneliness and isolation. Consider heading to your local public library, where you can connect with other patrons through shared reading interests and attend book clubs, author signings, and other library events.

Frequent a Senior Center

Senior centers are meccas for older adults to socialize with others while improving mental and physical wellness. Besides offering a variety of classes, recreation, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities to keep you occupied and connected, senior centers provide health screenings and support groups too. And with thousands of senior centers around the country, there’s no shortage of facilities. Check for one in your locale. Then make a point to frequent a center–and leave your loneliness at home.

Engage Electronically

You’re never too old to learn about technology, and it’s a skill that can serve the lonely well. From mingling with friends on social media to writing emails to acquaintances across the country to browsing the web for news and other noteworthy information, connecting online can be the next best thing to doing it in person. If you don’t have basic computer skills, take a class or have a friend or family member teach you. Besides curbing loneliness, communicating and engaging electronically is fun, convenient, and mentally stimulating.

Commune with Nature

Spending time in the elements has many perks, including reduced feelings of isolation. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health showed that people with low social connectedness had higher levels of well-being when they had frequent exposure to nature, even from inside the home. Open a window or get outside and do what you love, whether it’s stargazing, birdwatching, or playing a leisurely game of golf. Communing with nature also helps connect you with other people raking in the benefits of the great outdoors.

Plan Weekly Get-Togethers

Who doesn’t like something to look forward to, especially when it involves being with your favorite people? For aging adults, knowing they have a planned visit with someone special brings peace, hope, and excitement, and alleviates feelings of aloneness that can pervade the days. Get something on the calendar each week to anticipate, like a card game with friends, a family picnic, or a phone call with an old pal. And don’t let the end of the event depress you; instead, start planning for next week’s get-together.

Avoid Long Periods of Silence

Sitting in stillness when you’re alone can be peaceful, but too much quiet time may have the opposite effect. Long periods of silence can cause your mind to dwell on negative topics, including your solitude. If you’re stuck by yourself for hours at a time, break up the quiet with uplifting background sounds. Turn on the TV to a feel-good program or listen to music, which has many therapeutic benefits, including promoting calm and comfort. Noise machines offer an array of sounds that also soothe, inspire, and keep you company.

Make the Most of Alone Time

Bear in mind, just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. Time passes quickly and productively when you keep your mind occupied with worthwhile, engaging activities. That might mean writing in a journal, starting a family history project, painting, gardening, or woodworking. Or try tapping into your spiritual being through meditation or prayer, which can bring an inner connectedness that’s highly gratifying. By using alone time for personal refreshment and growth, loneliness stands little chance of creeping in.

Get Professional Advice

If loneliness becomes chronic and serious to the point your daily life is negatively affected, seek help from a professional. The potential for grave health problems from being lonely is real. Your doctor can discuss treatment options with you, which might consist of medication or a behavioral therapy. Avoid letting shyness or pride keep you from opening up about your feelings. Health professionals are trained to provide proper and compassionate care, so make the lifechanging call should it become necessary.

Don’t let loneliness threaten your health and well-being as an older adult. Use these ideas to bring fulfillment and connection to a life stage meant to be lived happily, fruitfully, and in good company.

Living at Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage Alaska At Baxter Senior Living, we work to ensure that our community is an extension of your loved ones family. If you are at a place in your life that you need to discuss Anchorage Assisted Living, Anchorage Memory Care, or Anchorage Respite Care please reach out today. We are happy to help answer any questions. Contact a Baxter Senior Living Representative today! 907-865-3500


Mays, Allison Moser, et. al., “The Leveraging Exercise to Age in Place (LEAP) Study: Engaging Older Adults in Community-Based Exercise Classes to Impact Loneliness and Social Isolation,” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (October 15, 2020),

Cartwright, Benjamin, et. al., “Nearby Nature ‘Buffers’ the Effect of Low Social Connectedness on Adult Subjective Wellbeing over the Last 7 Days,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (June 12, 2018),

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