By Renea Dennison, Contributor
This month our blog is devoted to combating loneliness. December is a particularly hard month for those who are lonely, especially if they are isolated. This week our focus will be special interests such as current hobbies and/or learning something new.
Hobbies are wonderful at fighting loneliness because people who spend time on hobbies are genuinely interested in whatever they are doing. Whether it is collecting stamps, cooking, traveling, woodworking, singing, or square dancing, a hobby helps you focus your attention on something outside of yourself. Often you can find local groups or clubs who share your love and can talk for hours about collecting or whatever your fancy is. You can learn from others, or perhaps share your knowledge. You may even be able to enter your item into contests such as at the state fair. There are few things as satisfying as having someone with your same passions look over your work and declare it a blue ribbon winner. Even people with mobility issues can find friends with shared interests who can come by to visit, or talk to you over the phone or via the internet. An added benefit is that hobbies help keep your mind sharp, and some can even increase your exercise which is always good for you.
Another option is to take a class. You are never too old to learn an instrument, tackle an art or cake decorating class, enroll in ballet or boxing, or learn a new language. Studying something new, essentially taking up a new hobby, will introduce you to a new group of friends and help you develop new brain synapses which can help ward off dementia. Added benefits include things like being able to play music for friends and family or painting them a picture of a wonderful memory you have of them.
If you don’t have a hobby, start one. They can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Many schools offer discounts or free classes for seniors. Check with your local library or parks and recreation department. Look for something that will get you involved with others, rather than something that will isolate you further. Coin collecting is fun, but only works against loneliness if you know other collectors and can talk shop with them.
Sign up for a class to learn something new. Many universities have courses seniors can take for free or for a nominal fee. You may be surprised where you can find a reasonably priced or free class. For instance, most fabric stores offer free sewing and/or quilting classes. Just ask around. You never know, just asking might help you make a new friend and that is what our blog this month is about.
Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare insurance planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.