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Take steps to avoid social isolation after move

Q:  Over the past year I have been giving serious thought to relocating to a warmer climate. My friends and family don’t think this is a good idea since I am widowed and would be all alone in a new area. I am relatively healthy and so far fairly independent. I would like suggestions of ways to keep from being isolated if I make this move.

A:   “A Review of Social Isolation” an article by Nicholas R. Nicholson states “social isolation has been demonstrated to lead to numerous detrimental health effects in older adults, including risk for all-cause mortality, dementia, increased risk of re-hospitalization and an increased number of falls”. Essentially the lack of meaningful involvement with other people can result in a poorer quality of life.

If relocation is something you really think would be in your best interest continue to pursue this option. Do your prep work before making a final decision. Investigate which area might be the best fit for you. On-line realty sites can give you a good idea of properties available and purchase price. Realtors are also a valuable resource for introduction to the community and what the area may have to offer you.

Moving alone may take a little courage but it does not mean you won’t have the opportunity to cultivate new relationships, it will just take a little initiative on your part. One of the first places to check out would be the local senior center which could prove to be the hub of senior activities. If you are a person of faith find a church nearby to attend. Many communities offer adult continuing educational opportunities at no cost or for a small fee. You might consider a course that could increase your knowledge of an interest you already have or learn something new. Think about finding a place to volunteer…this is a win win option. When a person volunteers they are both helping someone else as well as gaining self-satisfaction and increasing their own socialization.

Once you are settled don’t wait for your neighbors to approach you. Think about hosting an open house and invite those living around you to come by to meet the “new neighbor”. In conversations you may discover there are those on the block who have similar interests as yours. The mere act of frequently local businesses offers you an opportunity to meet new people and establish comfortable relationships.

 

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff are available for no cost consultations in the home, office or community. For additional information or to schedule an appointment call 1-800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Direct correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., AgeInfo Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.