Thomas Glass, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, advances a surprising argument for seniors living alone to get out of the house and attend community events. He says, “Social and productive activities that involve little or no enhancement of physical fitness lower the risk of all causes of death as much as exercise does.” Social activities as important to your health as exercise activities? It’s an interesting idea that stresses how important it can be to your health to stay social as you age. Happily, there are many resources likely available in your community that can help you stay social and vibrant throughout your life — places you can go to alone, with friends or family, or to make new friends. A few of these community resources are listed below.
Senior Meetups are online communities where seniors plan outings in their geographical location. They’re described as “neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something…”. Explore Meetup events on your computer and look at their online calendars. Then, join other Meetup members at local community events that interest you.
You don’t have to confine your search to senior community centers; most community centers have a calendar of events specifically for seniors. Look for a community center near you in the phone book or on the Internet. Most offer art and dance classes, along with an entire menu of activities, so give them a call and get on their mailing list.
It’s curious that many people never see the sights in their hometowns. Locals know all about these attractions, but many don’t actually visit them. Get together with a group of friends or a group of retirees from work and spend a few days sightseeing in your town during the off-season. Visit a different attraction each day. Museums often have a free admission day each week, so plan your schedule around free days. Ask for a senior discount at each attraction, and use the savings to end your staycation with a special dinner. Many restaurants offer early-bird specials where you receive a reduced rate on dinner selections.
Festivals are a great way to spend an afternoon or a whole day because they offer food, entertainment, and arts and crafts, something for everyone. Every town across America has festivals, and they’re popular family affairs — something you can enjoy with your grandchildren or other family members. Hot air balloon festivals are especially popular. You can search for festivals in your area at Festivals.com or watch your local newspaper for announcements.
Music or Theater in the Park
Many towns and cities offer free entertainment in parks during the summer. Whether it’s the local symphony or “Shakespeare in the Park,” it’s a great way to get outdoors for an afternoon or evening of free entertainment. You’ll see public service announcements, and the daily and weekly newspapers will carry announcements about park events. Invite your neighbors to join you for an evening in the park. In the winter, you can attend community theater and musical concerts at your local university.
Woody Allen was right when he said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” Once you discover the wealth of community events in your area, you’ll say, “There’s so much to do, I don’t know where to begin.”