Three older men laugh at a shared, good-natured joke, demonstrating how they avoid feeling lonely

No Need to Be Lonely

You can find meaningful relationships, even if you are not a social butterfly.

Some people find that their social connections dwindle in number as they age. Widowhood, retirement, and social isolation caused by illness or other factors can take a toll on physical and emotional health. Loneliness can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. Some studies compare the effects of social isolation with the health risks of smoking.

“People need people, period,” says Amy L. Segerstrom, Coordinator of The Healing Place: Center for Life’s Journeys. “Whether you are more introverted or extroverted, it’s important to be aware of what you need in terms of socializing.”

If you are unsure where you fall on the introversion-extroversion scale, our Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator workshops can help. If you want to stay social but still value your “me time,” Segerstrom recommends connecting with people who share your interests.

“In the Chippewa Valley, we have many ways to connect with other people,” she says. “Consider sports and recreational activities, the arts, and volunteer opportunities.”

If you are struggling with loneliness after the death of a spouse, The Healing Place offers multiple support groups for people who have lost loved ones. The Healing Place also offers “Living Mindfully,” a class that teaches participants about meditation and mindfulness practices, including ways they can help with loneliness.

“Take advantage of the support resources available in our community,” Segerstrom says. “People care. They want to help.”

 To learn more, call The Healing Place at 715.717.6028 or visit HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital.

You may also be interested in “Little Changes Improve Diet and Exercise.”